Stop The Snohomish County PUD's Dam Project

SAVE OUR WILD SKYKOMISH RIVER

Snohomish County PUD’s Proposed Project will include a Dangerous  ”Low-Head” Dam

(see video below)

In Sept., 2011, Snohomish County Public Utility District (Snohomish County PUD) submitted a preliminary permit application (FERC P-14295) to build a large scale hydroelectric project near Sunset Falls on the South Fork of The Skykomish River. The Snohomish County PUD’s proposed project is directly below the popular trails leading to Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls. A proposed low head dam would divert water from the river above Sunset Falls. The Snohomish County PUD’s proposed project is in conflict with with the Washington State Renewable Energy Standards and  voter approved 1-937 mandates which exclude new fresh water dams from renewable energy credits.

The Skykomish River is truly one of the most spectacular scenic rivers in the United States. For millions of years the Skykomish River has flowed unimpeded through what are now the Sky Wilderness and Alpine Lakes Wilderness areas. The Skykomish is also one of the last free flowing rivers left in Washington State. The river is a vital artery, flowing from the heart of the old growth forests of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness as it reaches what is the climax of its spectacular run under the cliffs of Mt Index, flowing over Canyon and Sunset Falls. These are two of the most beautiful waterfalls in Washington State. This amazing river is in the middle of a popular recreation area used heavily by hikers, climbers and rafters and is viewed by hundreds of thousands of people each year from Highway 2 as a symbol of what has been a protected Scenic River corridor and spectacular natural area.

By placing a $150 million hydropower project on the Skykomish River, the Snohomish County PUD will forever alter the river and waterfalls that have flowed for eons. Industrial development of a wild and scenic place in order to create a small amount of electrical power is not in keeping with the values and principles that have guided the protection of the Skykomish River for many decades.  Local landowners are OPPOSED to the project, as are local and national conservation groups.

Both the values and the science guiding the Snohomish County PUD’s proposed project are flawed. Sunset Falls has a long history of being a protected area. Federal and State comprehensive plans have recognized that hydro power development at Sunset Falls is not in the public interest.

All these protections have been enacted for good reasons after extensive public, legislative and scientific input.

The Snohomish County PUD’s dam project is likely to produce ONLY 13 megawatts of power on average, and quite possibly less than that after required stream flows and seasonal shuts down are considered. This is enough for only about 7,000 houses or about one percent of Snohomish PUD’s power needs.  Worse, the peak generating season does not correspond with winter demand as project planners had envisioned.  The project will only operate at full capacity during the spring runoff when there is already a surplus of hydropower being generated in Washington State!  During summer and winter months, the Snohomish County PUD’s project will have inadequate water available to operate.

There are many serious concerns about the costs and benefits of this project.  The purpose of this website is to communicate these concerns and provide common sense alternatives to Snohomish County PUD ratepayers, stakeholders and the general public.

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SnoPUD’s Proposed Project will Include a Dangerous  “Low-Head” Dam