Thursday, June 24, 2010
Blue Bay is on the eastern shore of Flathead Lake. I was drawn here knowing Flathead Lake had some nice gravel beaches and having read some stuff about Mark Lorang's work on constructed gravel beaches on the lake.
Blue Bay is formed by a southward point. The inside contains small pocket beaches formed by the bay's geometry and the various marina structures. These beaches consist of fairly small gravel, the red and green metamorphics (Belt Series?) so common in western Montana. The berm was a couple of feet above today's water level - which is relatively high (the level of Flathead Lake is carefully controlled by releases at the Kerr Dam), but typical for this time of year.
The beach on the outer (western) side of the point along the campground has recently been rebuilt with coarse gravel to address erosion. Apparently, the work was done at lower lake levels earlier this year. The new gravel is fairly large and was piled higher than I suspect the natural berm would have been (isn't this so often the case with nourished beaches!). The material appeared to be still rearranging itself. but it seemed like a nice fix to a problems that traditionally would have been met with riprap.