The spring runoff from melting snow in Canada is now coming down the Columbia River, and Lake Roosevelt is beginning to refill.
Following the long 2016-17 winter, Lake Roosevelt has been kept at a low water level in anticipation of the large mountain runoff to come.
Currently, with the water level at an elevation of about 1,243 feet above sea level, the target for May 31 is for the lake to be no higher than 1,262, according to the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation. The lake is completely full at 1,290 feet.
Flood control levels are determined by the Corps of Engineers, and are the major factor in water levels this time of year while the lake is operated as a large catch-basin to hold back snowmelt water that could otherwise cause flooding downstream.
The Colville Tribes had asked the Corps of Engineers to keep the water level above 1,232, the lowest operational level for the Gifford-Inchelium Ferry.
Although many boat launches on Lake Roosevelt are inoperable due to the low water levels, they are open at Spring Canyon, Keller Ferry, Seven Bays, Hunters Camp, and Kettle Falls. As the water rises, by the end of May, Crescent Bay, Hansen Harbor, Lincoln Mill, Fort Spokane, Gifford, Daisy, Bradbury Beach, and more boat launches should all be operational.
The Porcupine Bay launch is currently inaccessible because of a landslide earlier this year.
More information on current lake levels, and the minimum operable lake levels for many boat launches can be found at http://www.gcdvisitor.com/boat-launch-accessibility-on-lake-roosevelt/