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Avista shuts Post Falls Dam to raise lake, river levels

Published On: Sep 13 2011 05:41:45 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 21 2010 02:06:35 AM CDT

Warm winter and spring temperatures, a meager snowpack and the lack of spring runoff is prompting Avista to begin storing water in Lake Coeur d' Alene and the Spokane River much earlier than usual.

In comparison this time last year spring runoff was racing through the Post Falls Dam as fast as Avista could get rid of it but 2010 is much different as the dam barely spilling any water at all

?What?s going on now is that we really didn't have any low lying snow, all the snow we got is at high elevations and so we really didn't get the runoff that we would have had by now,? Avista spokesperson Hugh Imhof said.

This has left Avista in a position of using what little runoff there is to bring up water levels in the lake and along the Spokane River. By doing this it means that docks and boat launches that would have stayed high and dry until mid-June will soon be submerged.

Boaters and businesses that benefit from summer recreation couldn't be happier.

?It?s a perfect alignment of everything,? Kelly Gwinn Duby with Red Lion Templins said. ?We've rolled back our prices to 2006, we're going to have an extended boating season.?

It will be a while before the lake and river reach their summer elevations, but in the meantime the rising water is covering hazards like Greensferry Island just enough to make it invisible but not out of the reach of boater propellers.

?People know when its low you can see the rocks and the things sticking out but when its half way in between there's just enough water to hide the obstacles so be cautious, look where you're going,? Imhof said.