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Duncan River

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Title: Duncan River  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Duncan Ranges, Battle Range, Tributaries of the Columbia River, Beaver River (Columbia River), West Kootenay
Collection: Rivers of British Columbia, Tributaries of the Columbia River, West Kootenay
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Duncan River

Duncan River
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Source near Mount Dawson
 - location Purcell Trench
Mouth Kootenay River
 - location Kootenay Lake
 - coordinates  [1]
Length 206 km (128 mi) [2]
Basin 2,443 km2 (943 sq mi) [3]
Discharge for Below Lardeau River
 - average 162 m3/s (5,721 cu ft/s) [4]
 - max 807 m3/s (28,499 cu ft/s)
 - min 12.8 m3/s (452 cu ft/s)

The Duncan River is a 128-mile (206 km) long[2] river in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Its drainage basin is 2,443 square kilometres (943 sq mi) in area.[3] It is part of the Columbia River basin, being tributary via Kootenay Lake to the Kootenay River, which is a tributary of the Columbia River. It forms part of the boundary between the Selkirk Mountains, to its west, and the Purcell Mountains, to its east (the boundary northwards is the Beaver River).


The Duncan River originates near Mount Dawson and flows south through the Purcell Trench between the Selkirk Mountains and Purcell Mountains.[3] It flows into Duncan Lake, a natural lake that has been enlarged by Duncan Dam. A short distance below the dam, the Duncan River is joined by the Lardeau River, its largest single tributary. From here the river continues south to join the Kootenay River at the North Arm of Kootenay Lake.[1]


Duncan River was named for John ("Jack") Duncan, a prospector and candidate for the colonial Legislative Council from the Kootenay Land District in the 1866.[5]

On some early maps Duncan Lake is shown with the name "Upper Kootenay Lake" or "Howser Lake", but since 1912 the name Duncan has prevailed.[5]

Before Duncan Dam was built the river served as the main navigation route into the valley, used by mining and logging industries. The route was navigable via Kootenay Lake as far as Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, on the Kootenai River.[6]

Duncan Dam was finished in 1967, the first of the three Canadian Columbia River Treaty dams to be built. Its purpose is to regulate flow into Kootenay Lake, in coordination with Libby Dam, to assure sufficient water flow for the Kootenay Canal and Corra Linn Dam projects. Duncan Dam does not produce any electricity. Duncan Lake, originally 25 kilometres (16 mi) in length, is now 45 kilometres (28 mi) long.[6]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ Search for Station 08NH118 Duncan River below Lardeau River
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b Duncan Dam, Touchstones Nelson, Museum of Art and History
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