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Sustained Koocanusa Reservoir levels supported by RDEK

The Regional District of East Kootenay is advocating for levels in the Koocanusa Reservoir to remain consistent through the summer months.

Staff with the RDEK is sending a letting to the B.C. Government to request that the joint operation of the Libby Dam between the U.S. and B.C. Governments are included in the renewal of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. RDEK officials also requested that this work should be done in collaboration with Indigenous Nations.

“We recognize the important environmental, economic and recreational impacts that having sustained water level creates and if an agreement can’t be reached around how to cooperatively manage water levels on both sides of the Libby Dam, Canada needs to pursue construction of its own dam at the border to protect these critical assets,” said Electoral Area B Director Stan Doehle.

According to RDEK officials, the stated goal should be to maintain the Koocanusa reservoir at a level between 2,445 feet and 2,455 feet from June 1 to September 30, subject to consideration of downstream impacts.

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If successful negotiations of the Treaty cannot be done, the RDEK will approach the Government of Canada to request a dam with a height of 2,459 feet, at the 49th parallel North Latitude.

“I want to thank my fellow RDEK Directors for their support on this issue. As Director for Area B, I look forward to working with the Province and Global Affairs Canada to bring Lake Koocanusa into a new negotiated treaty,” said Doehle.

Negotiations to modernize the 1964 Treaty have been underway since 2018.

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