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HomePoliticsMontana PoliticsZinke introduces legislation to regulate Flathead Lake water levels

Zinke introduces legislation to regulate Flathead Lake water levels

U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke on Tuesday introduced legislation in Congress aimed at ensuring Flathead Lake avoids another year of abnormally low water levels.

The Fill the Lake Act would require the Department of the Interior to ensure full pool levels of Flathead Lake for most of the summer season.

“It’s a made in Montana solution,” Zinke said Nov. 14.

The legislation would direct the secretary of the Interior to maintain Flathead Lake between 2,892 and 2,893 feet above sea level from June 15 to Sept. 15. The level would be maintained through releases of water from the Hungry Horse Reservoir, located upriver of Flathead Lake.

If passed, the measure will ensure that Flathead Lake stays at around full pool until after Labor Day, Zinke said.

Zinke said that the legislation provides the Bureau of Reclamation, which controls the Hungry Horse Dam, with better data, using available technology to determine moisture and anticipated flows of a snowpack. One way of collecting data, Zinke said, could be through satellite imagery for moisture detection.

By better collecting data, he said, the bureau can more accurately anticipate and prepare for different flow levels.

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