HELLS CANYON, Idaho – Visitors to Brownlee Reservoir may have to wait a while before launching their boats.

The reservoir is considered full when water elevation is 2,077 feet above sea level, according to Idaho Power Co. But currently the reservoir is “far below ‘full’ despite ample snowpack and recent rains.”

As of mid-April, the elevation was approximately 2,020 feet. This is below the level at which existing boat ramps reach the water. The April 30 target set by the Corps of Engineers is 2,012.6 feet (about 64 feet below full), so further drawdown should be expected.

The reason the reservoir is so low, the company explains in a news release, is because Brownlee is part of a regional flood control plan for the Columbia River Basin, directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The reservoir’s water level is lowered to make room for spring runoff.

Idaho Power hopes to raise the reservoir to 2,069 feet (within eight feet of full) by the end of May. All developed boat ramps on Brownlee are usable at 2,055 feet.

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