Tribe, State May get to Keep Dworshak Fullby Staff
The Idaho Statesman, June 30, 2002
OROFINO -- The deep winter snowpack has breathed new life into the proposal of the state and Nez Perce Tribe to keep Dworshak Reservoir full longer than normal this summer.
Snowpack is still 129 percent of normal, the reservoir is full and the melt is providing an inflow equal to the outflow of 17,000 cubic feet per second through the dam.
In the past, the federal government has begun drawing down the reservoir in late June to help flush juvenile salmon to the ocean, dropping the water level 80 feet by midsummer.
The state Fish and Game Department along with the Nez Perce Tribe and the Columbia Basin Inter-tribal Fish Commission have unsuccessfully lobbied to spread the drawdown out over a longer period. Some of the water could benefit returning adult steelhead and fall chinook as well.
But the heavy snowpack this year may finally get them heard.
Rudd Turner of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers´ Reservoir Control Center said the situation this year is giving water managers more flexibility. The team that maps out the reservoir´s management strategy will take up the state-tribal plan Wednesday.
“There might be some options to hang on to some of that water,” Turner said.
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