Endangered species

The Similkameen River Gets a Reprieve

The Enloe Dam has been messing up fish and the Similkameen River since 1906. Since 1959, when its electrical generation capacity was stilled for cost reasons, it has been without economic purpose. It just sits there blocking steelhead and gathering silt.

For thirteen years, the Okanogan Public Utility District (PUD) in North-Central Washington has investigated various options for the dam, including rebuilding its electrical-generating capacity (one option for that included flooding the valley for miles into British Columbia). On November 1, 2018, a study by the design-build firm Max J. Kuney of Spokane submitted a contracted feasibility report, which included a price tag of up to US$70,400,000, for a cost of $150 per mwh, compared to $12 per mwh from the Wells Dam south of Brewster, on the Columbia. Associated costs raise that cost to US87,400,000. On November 19, the PUD voted against re-electrifying the dam. This is great news for a great river. You can read the Okanagan PUD’s statement on the decision here:

The PUD gave its staff 120 days to investigate further the future of the dam. While we’re waiting, here’s an image of the river and her sacred mountains near Nighthawk, just upriver from the dam. It has the capacity to provide spawning room for 2,500,000 sea-going trout, which would make it (once again) the world’s great steelhead river.

Beautiful water!

2 replies »

    • The Lower Similkameen Indian Band and the Friends of the Similkameen River need our support on that, whatever we can do. A wonderful goal, though.

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