Time’s short to comment on dam

EVERETT — The deadline to comment on study plans for a proposed dam on the Skykomish River is Wednesday.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District is considering building a mini-dam on the river above Sunset Falls near Index.

The PUD has submitted a plan to the federal government specifying which environmental issues it will study in determining whether to build it. Those include water quality, fish passage, geotechnical issues, air quality and specifics within each category.

The power to approve or deny a permit for the project rests with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. First, the agency must approve the PUD’s study plan.

After the comments are in, FERC is expected to give a thumbs-up or down to the study plan by the end of the month, PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos said.

The dam, if built, is expected to cost between $110 million and $170 million and supply power to an average of 10,000 homes.

The utility buys more than 80 percent of its power in the form of hydroelectric energy from the Bonneville Power Administration and is looking to diversify.

The project has met with stiff opposition from environmental organizations and some people who live near the site.

Concerns include flooding above the dam and reduced water flow below it, including possible effects on fish, glare from lights, noise and traffic during construction, and the effect on scenery.

According to a preliminary PUD study, the dam won’t cause flooding or de-watering on the river and will be visually unobtrusive. Detailed fish studies remain.

The plan involves diverting water from the pooled area behind the 7-foot weir above Sunset Falls on the south fork of the Skykomish, through a 2,200-foot pipe downstream to a powerhouse below the falls.

The weir would be inflated for about nine months of the year, when flow is highest, officials have said. It would be deflated during low-flow periods in the summer.

The PUD has not formally applied to build the dam. It will likely be at least five years before a final decision is rendered, a FERC official said last summer.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; bsheets@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Stormy weather knocks out power to parts of Everett

About 3,700 PUD customers lost electricity in Snohomish County early Thursday morning.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Most Read