Technical Management Team discusses low water levels affecting Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake
Posted at 5:11 PM, Jul 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-13 11:18:15-04

HUNGRY HORSE - An inter-agency technical group responsible for making recommendations on dam and reservoir operations held a virtual meeting Wednesday morning to discuss low water levels affecting Flathead Lake.

The Technical Management Team made up of officials from Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington listened to concerns from elected officials regarding impacts of low water levels on Flathead Lake and the Flathead River.

Attending the meeting were officials from the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, and representatives from the Hungry Horse Dam.

The discussion touched on the feasibility of releasing more water from the Hungry Horse Reservoir including potential short-term and long-term ecological impacts on the Flathead River.

In a message to MTN Wednesday night, the governor's office says a Systems Operational Request can be submitted by any member of TMT, including members such as the Bureau of Reclamation and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

In a statement Wednesday, the governor said “The drought in the Flathead Valley is a serious issue that requires serious solutions, and I’m disappointed and frustrated that the Technical Management Team isn’t shooting straight on this. Last week, I asked federal officials for formal analysis to support a potential request for a release from the Hungry Horse Project, and I haven't gotten it. Ultimately, the federal agencies which oversee the Hungry Horse Project have the data and authority to make an informed decision, and I urge them to use that to act instead of punting their responsibility.”

The Technical Management Team is expected to meet next on July 19, 2023.

Correction: In an earlier report, MTN reported before any action is taken, a Systems Operational Request must be submitted from Governor Gianforte’s office.