Dam Safety

The Colville Safety of Dams program is run by the Environmental Trust Department (ETD) with funding and oversight by the BIA Safety of Dams program. The program mission is to ensure that Owhi Lake and Twin Lakes Dams do not present unacceptable risks to public safety and property loss. The program covers inspection, operations, and maintenance of the dams and associated Early Warning System instrumentation. Inspections are conducted monthly, with comprehensive inspections every few years performed by dam safety engineers from Bureau of Reclamation and BIA.


Typical work includes inspections and reporting, gate operation to regulate water releases, debris cleanout at the outlet works, mowing and tree removal, and coordinating removal of burrowing animals with Colville Fish & Wildlife. ETD technicians Mark Ives, David Boyce, and Jason Lelone perform this work.


Each dam has an emergency action plan. Early warning instruments transmit data to the BIA National Dam Monitoring Center in Rowan, Montana which in turn provides notifications and warnings to safety personnel with the Tribe, and dam safety personnel with BIA.


For more information, please contact Todd Thorn, Environmental Trust Watershed Manager and Dam Safety Officer, at 509-634-2428, or todd.thorn@colvilletribes.com

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