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Rep. Rosendale Sends Letter on Flathead Lake Water Level

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Recently, Congressman Matt Rosendale (MT-02) wrote a letter to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Touton requesting her agencies reconsider their recent decision not to release more water from the Hungry Horse Reservoir into Flathead Lake.

“Low water levels at Flathead Lake haven’t just been devastating for the community’s small businesses that rely on the lake for tourism, but the area’s farmers as well,” said Rep. Rosendale. “The decision not to allow more water to flow into Flathead will devastate the area’s agriculture in an action that will ripple throughout the state. We must do everything we can to mitigate the effects of this problem and ensure local economies can stay afloat during this period of excess heat. I request that the Bureau of Reclamation quickly reconsider their decision and provide desperately needed assistance to small businesses and farmers.”

Farmers from Kalispell rely on water from the Flathead River to continuously fill a slough that is used to irrigate their crops. Due to the low water levels in the river, the slough has reached a diversion point and can no longer intake water. The request for additional water for Flathead Lake is not without precedent. In 2001, the Bureau made a similar move to restore the lake’s water level. The economic consequences of this low water level will be far-reaching, resulting in millions of dollars of infrastructure damage to docks and piers while increasing the potential for boating accidents. On July 13th, Governor Gianforte formally requested action on Flathead Lake waters levels. The Columbia River Technical Management Team that advises the Bureau of Reclamation rejected the governor’s request for action.

Read Congressman Rosendale's letter to the Bureau of Reclamation here.