The Thursday Sunset Falls Dam Project article was timely and informative. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission team from Washington D.C. was treated to a stunningly beautiful day in the rugged North Cascades as they visited one of the world’s last remaining wild and scenic rivers — our very own Skykomish River. FERC came here to investigate Snohomish County PUD’s proposal to de-water the Skykomish near Index for one percent of its power. FERC learned that the proposed dam site is within walking distance of three designated wilderness areas; that the PUD does not own the land they would need; that the project would be a major safety hazard on deadly U.S. 2; that the Skykomish is protected from hydropower under several existing state laws; that the project economics are awful; that PUD’s application contains several specific fatal flaws; and that the river is ESA designated critical habitat for three threatened salmon species and one species of concern.
They also learned that all eight species of Puget Sound salmonids spawn in waters to be disturbed by PUD. FERC saw first-hand the massive turnout of stakeholders for this mid-week tour and they listened carefully for three hours during the evening meeting to polite and intelligent comments from dozens of citizens who, with literally a single exception, urged PUD to abandon this ill-conceived project. While the article mentions several clever signs and banners, my personal favorite was the street sign at the proposed dam site, which simply read “No Dam Way.”