Energy Keepers offers weekly "Range of Forecast"

Apr. 25—Energy Keepers Inc., the owner and operator of Salish Ksanka Qlispe (SKQ) Dam, began posting a new graphic last week that shows the possible lake level ranges this summer.

According to a press release, the Range of Forecast Graphic will be updated every Monday afternoon through the spring and summer on the Energy Keepers website,, and Facebook page.

"What will happen with lake levels is a question on the minds of everyone in the Flathead Lake community. There's an ample amount of incorrect information going around so in an effort to keep the public apprised of the ever-changing conditions we are posting what our forecasters see," said Brian Lipscomb, CEO of Energy Keepers. "In one graphic, everyone will understand what the range of possibilities are for the lake as we move through the spring."

Staff forecasters deal with large amounts of uncertainty and imperfect information tied to snowpack, temperatures, weather, snowpack density, streamflows and more. According to Lipscomb, the Range of Forecast graphic reflects those ever-changing variables, providing a different perspective on what it takes to operate a hydroelectric facility.

Energy Keepers operates SKQ dam under a license issued by FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As part of operations, SKQ regularly coordinates with the United States Army Corp of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.

No guarantee lake will remain at full pool

"The 2023 low-water year was a challenge for everyone in the Flathead Basin," said Lipscomb, who took issue with information that appeared in an advertisement on page B4 of last week's Leader (April 18).

In its ad, the nonprofit National Organization to Save Flathead Lake (NOSFL) states that EKI's latest report to FERC projects "the Flathead Lake level will be at 2,893 feet for the entire summer recreations season."

"This is incorrect," says Lipscomb.

"In recent routine filings by Energy Keepers with FERC, it was stated that full pool will likely be reached by late June," he said. "Based on detailed reviews of snowpack levels, projected weather, and potential dry conditions again this year, the possibility of the lake levels sagging later in the summer is a possibility."

He also challenges the non-profit organization's description of itself as an "official intervener" on behalf of Flathead Lake.

"There is no proceeding at FERC for any entity to intervene in," he said, adding that FERC has investigated complaints filed by NOSFL and supported Energy Keepers' adherence to its operational license during last summer's drought.

According to Lipscomb, EKI is currently developing a Drought Management Plan, or DMP, which will, as its license requires, include provisions to reevaluate and adjust Flathead Lake flood-control requirements and other provisions "necessary to facilitate compliance with lower Flathead River minimum instream flow requirements designated by the Secretary of the Interior."

In the ad that appeared last week, NOSFL commends Energy Keepers for its efforts "to recognize all stakeholders' interests" and vows to continue "to research the facts, offer solutions and keep Energy Keepers accountable for keeping the lake full at 2,893 feet from June 15 through Sept. 15."

"While Energy Keepers appreciates enthusiasts, all efforts will be made to ensure confusing untruths will be addressed to help keep everyone informed of actual conditions, challenges and operations," said Lipscomb.