Daines, Zinke Support Governor Gianforte’s Action to Address Falling Flathead Lake Levels

U.S. CONGRESS – U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Ryan Zinke (MT-01) today issued the following statements of support for Governor Greg Gianforte’s action to address low water levels in Flathead Lake.

“I commend Governor Gianforte’s work to address the situation at Flathead Lake and hope to see immediate action from the TMT. Protecting our Montana way of life will always be my top priority and I encourage the Biden administration to join us in this effort. Congressman Zinke and I will continue to push for relief to the communities around Flathead Lake as well as farmers in the Flathead Basin,” Daines said.

“Fill the lake. I support the state’s recommendation to the TMT and Bureau of Reclamation to stabilize Flathead Lake. If the feds had taken action more than three weeks ago when lake levels were 8 inches below full pool and when Senator Daines and I first raised this issue to the Commissioner and Regional Director of Reclamation we would be in a much better situation. Unfortunately, weak leadership and robust red tape led to worsening conditions that are having dire consequences on ag and the tourism economy,” Zinke said.

Daines and Zinke first sent a letter calling on the Bureau of Reclamation to release water from the Hungry Horse Reservoir to stabilize water levels in Flathead Lake at the end of June.

The July streamflow volume forecast is at 36 percent of average.

The SKQ Dam project decreased the lake outflow to minimum streamflow for the lower Flathead River at the beginning of June. However, due to the low inflow into Flathead Lake, the elevation is beginning to drop and is expected to continue to drop until approximately mid-July.

Without substantial precipitation or an increase in streamflow, the lowest level is anticipated to be near 22-24 inches or 2 feet below full pool.