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September 17, 2021

It may sound unbelievable to all who have visited pristine Priest Lake, but the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is proposing to lay a more than 2 mile-long, 5-foot diameter metal siphon pipe on the bottom of Priest Lake around the dam, diverting billions of gallons of deep cold lake water into the river.

Unless we who love this lake take notice and act, it is very possible that this ill-advised project could be approved.

IDFG is pressing to create a cold-water fishery in lower Priest River (which historically has never been a strong fishery) and proposes to do this by tapping the cold water of the lake. This is a very risky experiment and places the long-term health of the lake in jeopardy. Visualize the following: The pipe siphon would run from the head waters of Priest River, (below the dam), through the full length of the Outlet channel, into Coolin Bay, and out several miles to a depth of at least 60 feet. IDFG’s goal is to use this “colder water,” drawn from the depths of the lake, to lower the temperature of Priest River’s water, in the belief it will encourage improved river fish production. A portion of this huge pipe would rest on the floor of the lake while other portions would be supported by concrete pillars.

The stated rationale for this project is to turn Priest River into a “high value fishery”, which historically has never been true. IDFG and its hired experts have assured attendees at public meetings and in written statements that there is really “not much to worry about”. The opposite is true. There is much to be concerned about.

A steering committee has been formed to organize and coordinate efforts to oppose any effort to divert deep cold water from Priest Lake, and a campaign has begun to Stop the Siphon. The Committee invites you to join the hundreds of lake residents, visitors, and area businesspeople committed to “Stop the Siphon”.

The intent of this introductory message is to bring to your attention a real threat to Priest Lake; provide you solid reasons to oppose the siphon (beyond the natural revulsion to a giant metal pipe on the bottom of the lake); and to inform you ways you can lend your name/time/resources to bring a halt to this proposal before it gains momentum. Detailed position papers by members of the Stop the Siphon committee will soon be made available on our Facebook page and, still under construction website.

CLICK HERE - not on Facebook, no problem / our website is under construction.

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