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Kerr Operations Update

Jul 24, 2015

Representatives from NorthWestern Energy (NWE), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Energy Keepers, Inc. (“EKI”), Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration conferred on July 16th regarding current and projected operation of the Kerr Project. The current outflow is about 4,900 cubic feet per second (cfs) and the lake elevation, as of July 23rd, was 2,892.19 feet, which is 0.81 feet from full elevation of 2,893 feet.

Consistent with its Drought Management Plan proposal, on June 24 NWE filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Secretary of the U. S. Department of the Interior (DOI), a request for a variance from the minimum flow requirements of Article 56 of the Kerr Project license. NWE was granted the variance on July 2nd. Pursuant to the variance, the minimum flow releases from Kerr Dam have been reduced throughout the month of July per a FERC and DOI approved flow schedule in order to maintain a Flathead Lake elevation of no less than 2,892 feet. Flow decreases below Kerr of 200 cfs each day will continue through the end of the month, resulting in an estimated outflow of approximately 3,300 cfs on July 31st.

The natural stream flow for the month of June averaged 55 percent of normal and has only averaged 40 percent of normal to date in July. The forecast for natural stream flow into Flathead Lake issued July 22nd by the River Forecast Center (“RFC”) for the July through September period is 42 percent of average. As things stand, NWE estimates based on these forecasts and operations plans that an elevation of 2,892 feet or slightly higher will be maintained throughout July and August.

NWE continues to monitor conditions at the project and at Flathead Lake, and will initiate further consultations with stakeholders if additional operational changes are indicated.

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Media Contact:
Butch Larcombe
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