The dam and channel, located in the northwest area of the lake, were created in 1950. It was designed to maintain a maximum water level, not a low level, at an elevation of 2381.25. Its main purpose is to control flooding downstream at Sheep Creek and the Colville River. The US National Inventory of Dams states the dam was built in 1951, is state-owned, and was designed by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW).
There is State, County, and local involvement (Loon Lake Sewer District #4) in controlling the water level of Loon Lake. The state Department of Ecology (DOE) office in Spokane monitors and reports lake levels daily and when deemed necessary alerts the Sewer District, which is contracted with the DOE, to open and close gates to maintain lake water levels. Additionally, Stevens County is notified when maintenance and repairs are needed.
In 1950 it was court ordered that the Stevens County Commissioners were to create a Loon Lake Improvement Fund and assess lakefront property owners a per foot, per parcel fee, to cover costs for the maintenance and repair to the dam and channel, including all administrative costs required to create and manage the fund. This fund was meant to be perpetual, meaning forever.
Over the years, it seems that the ball was dropped and there has been a lack of responsibility toward the dam and channel, and its maintenance. Currently, there is confusion in regards to who owns and is supposed to operate, maintain, and repair the dam and channel. The possibility of the State, County, Sewer District, Loon Lake Property Owners Association, or the landowners themselves have been discussed as the potential owners/stewards of the dam. Seeking clarification, Stevens County has decided to return to the courts for answers and a final ruling.
Following a safety inspection by the Department of Ecology Dam Safety Office in September of 2021, it was determined that the Loon Lake control structure was in fair condition with several deficiencies requiring attention. The three-turn-style gate structure (dam) has one inoperable gate and slight leaking of the remaining two gates. As described in the report by the Department of Ecology Dam Safety Office the repairs that are needed (gate mechanisms and concrete work) can only be completed at a time when water levels are low which would generally be in the late summer, fall, or winter months. In addition, the channel from the lake to the dam currently has sand, muck, and debris impeding the water flow making it difficult to lower the lake quickly.
While the responsibility of the dam and channel is being determined through the legal system, they will both remain in their current condition awaiting a new court order.
March 14, 2024
4000 Colville Rd
2nd Thursday monthly
2024 Annual Meeting
June 22, 2024
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Loon Lake Property Owners Association
PO Box 165
Loon Lake, WA 99148
only $50 per family
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Lake Management District Advisory Committee
March 11, 2024
4000 Colville Rd
2nd Monday monthly
March - Oct
For more info see LMD
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