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Government Briefs

by Luke Hollister Western News
| July 9, 2019 4:00 AM

CWD update

Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks reported three more white-tailed deer to be suspected of Chronic Wasting Disease, Wednesday in Libby.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University identified the samples to be suspected of CWD infection, and will run confirmation tests, according to a FWP press release.

One of the three latest samples was from a white-tailed buck road-killed inside the Libby city limits. The second deer was a white-tailed doe, which FWP also collected in Libby.

The third infected deer was found on Kootenai River Road near mile marker 1.

FWP has submitted 29 samples of white-tailed and mule deer for CWD testing since late May. CWD was not detected in 18 samples and results are pending for six.

Sample results typically arrive within 10-to-14 days of submission, according to the release.

FWP will host bi-weekly public information meetings regarding CWD, in Libby starting in late July. Location and dates are not yet listed.

Water levels

2019 is one of the driest recorded years for the Kootenai River Basin, combining extremely low spring precipitation with well-below average snowpack, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, press release.

Lake Koocanusa will be significantly lower than normal this summer. Peak pool elevation is projected to be potentially 22 feet below average and is expected to occur in the first two weeks of August.

USACE senior water manager Logan Osgood-Zimmerman said, “It has been a dry year overall,” according to the release. Workers have, “been operating on minimum flows for much of winter and spring to try and conserve water.”

The Corps’ swim platform at Souse Gulch will likely not be available for use due to low lake levels, according to the release. Access to private docks and marinas may be impacted.