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Flow Study Completed for West Branch Montreal

Posted: 10/31/2007
By: Thomas O'Keefe
The West Branch of the Montreal is a low-volume river located on the south shore of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin, USA. On the stretch of the West Branch between Gile Falls and Highway 2 a popular class IV- whitewater run exists. Although this stretch hosted the National Wildwater Championships in 1992 and the Pan Am races in the early 1980’s, paddlers can generally only find adequate flows for whitewater runs during a week or two in early spring when the reservoir upstream spills.

Dam operations upstream of Gile Falls could allow for scheduled whitewater releases into the West Branch providing additional paddling opportunities in the Lake Superior area. To explore this possibility an internet flow survey was conducted between the spring of 2006 and 2007. Results of the survey provided information on optimal flows for whitewater recreation.

Local volunteers will be able to use this report and the information provided in their discussions with the utility and local community. While the Gile Flowage is not part of a federally-licensed hydropower facility there may be opportunities to provide recreational opportunities on this great river. The project has been used to provide flows for recreation in the past and paddlers throughout the region have expressed interest in future opportunities. The report provides a common framework for those discussions to take place.

The report was prepared by AW member Evan Stafford. We thank all our members and supporters who provided information and feedback on this study.

Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
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