Hyrdro Dam proposed on S. Fork Skykomish

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by scottr, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

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    Just out of curiosity, what do you guys find as your biggest reason for opposing the dam? Personally, I'm not that comfortable with opposing a project without really knowing anything except dam=bad. I'm not asking because I'm for the dam or anything, I'm just wondering what the biggest sticking point for you guys is. I understand that excavation on that scale can always have unintended effects (I think the website points to heavy metals deposits), but I'm curious about what people think about the actual change to the river. Since it uses the natural elevation drop over those three sets of falls, there wouldn't really be much of an impoundment. I know the video mentioned the dewatering of the south fork in that short stretch right there, but there really shouldn't be much habitat degradation, should there?

    I think this is a really interesting issue because this will (supposedly) help the wild, but not native anadromous stocks of fish above the falls by replacing the defunct fish ladder. As is the case with predatory species, it's always a little bit of a zero-sum game in that the pre-existing native species might be marginalized in favor of the non-native anadromous fish.

    I'm just curious if most people on here are more concerned about the web of life in the entire drainage (downstream effects), the fish existing above the drainage, the fiscal viability of the project, the aesthetics, or if people have a general aversion to (possibly) unnecessary artificial modification of the environment. I understand that destruction is forever, and we haven't demonstrated we understand what that means. I think these are all important issues to be weighed against the benefits, but I just don't think the website above makes the case very effectively. The website doesn't really seem tailored to actually what is going on in the drainage, or this specific project. It kind of looks like it's a fill-in-the-blank, 'critical species x lives here', formulaic Sierra Club cause. I'm wondering if anyone knows about any other critical literature that we can be pointed to.
     
  2. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    I noted the removal of the Elwha dam in my response. Said it would be horrific to witness a PUD making, or being allowed to make, the mistakes of our past.
     
  3. scottr

    scottr Active Member

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    My issue is we don't need another F@%^ing dam or wind factory crammed down our throats in this state.

    I would also say this is a good read:

    http://www.savetheskyriver.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Sunset-Falls-Synopsis-Final.pdf
     
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  4. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    Read about 1/3... Enough! Enough is enough. No Dam!
     
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  5. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

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    Definitely. I think the cited website might be a little off as far as the environmental effects, but I think the cited literature makes a lot of great fiscal points. You don't need to allege that the environmental costs are catastrophic, just that the benefits are negligible.

    I think the most important part of that paper is the break-even point and how far out it is. To think that we would have to wait over 100 years for the break-even point makes me wonder what kind of energy production methods might be at our disposal at that time. I think the most important similarity to the Elwha is not the potential for environmental disaster, but just the pure ineffeciency of 100 year old technology and the cost of removing it. If we're relying on this dam to be financially viable compared to modern technology in 100 years, I think we're making a mistake.
     
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  6. scottr

    scottr Active Member

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    Bumping this. Only 3 days left to comment.
     
  7. Checkthisout

    Checkthisout Member

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    No reason not to build it. People are not going to stop reproducing, the electricty will be needed in the near future and all a small diversion dam does the river where there is already falls is make a little pool.

    SNOpud also recently completed a hydro project on upper Elwell Creek (youngs creek).

    They are also going to place small diversion dams and at the outlets of Lake Hancock and Calligan to divert water to two new downstream powerhouses.

    They are coming, get used to it.
     
  8. Matt Baerwalde

    Matt Baerwalde ...

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    Not true. Dams and diversions hinder downstream movement of sediment and large woody debris which is a vital habitat-forming process. Dewatering also reduces the extent of marginal and backwater habitat. The north footing of their dam will be on unconsolidated alluvium--potentially unstable. And they want to blast canyon falls. Ever seen it? Most have not since it is surrounded by private land, but it is spectacular.
     
  9. good samaritan

    good samaritan New Member

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    I have read the material and it is not a dam, it is a weir that sucks out water and distributes it downstream. You have to read what they are doing, because there is misinformation. There is no water impoundment. I am not for dams and not for Puget power, but take a look first.
     
  10. Checkthisout

    Checkthisout Member

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    I agree on the dewatering aspect, the Dam certainly cannot be built without some negative impacts but I think the actual impact will be minimal to nill. LWD and sediment rentention will be nill IMO because they will constantly be cleaning the area around the intakes and tossing the crap downstream.

    Im not trying to negate your concerns, they are understandable but minor dewatering and blasting of an insignifigant waterfall is of no concern to me. The same kinds of concerns are expressed by people who object to the centuries old power project @ Snoqualmie Falls. Somehow the falls is less beautiful because less water flows over it?

    There is nothing more beautiful than being able to walk up to the splash pool of a waterfall with low to minimal flow, especially one that generally flows at a heavy rate. ;)
     
  11. Checkthisout

    Checkthisout Member

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    As a side note, I fished the stretch of Youngs creek several times in the late 90's and the early part of last decade before they put the Hydro intake there.

    It was an absolutely fantastic fishing spot with a set of 3 large waterfalls with splash pools that were packed wall-to-wall with 12" cuts and brookies.

    I imagine they still are, but the property is now a "No Tresspassing" area.
     
  12. Matt Baerwalde

    Matt Baerwalde ...

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    Actually you should take a look again. Puget Power is not involved; it's SnoPUD. And what's a weir? A low-head dam. Behind this dam, there is an impoundment (smaller than Lake Mead, yes, but an impoundment nonetheless). That's what the weir (inflatable dam) is for--to back water up and divert it into the bypass. It does not suck up water; water flows into it. The bypass water would then flow through the turbines and be put back in the river below Sunset Falls.

    SnoPUD and FERC will still receive comments, but the NWPCC's comment period for the update to their Fish and Wildlife Program (which includes the SF Sky as a Protected Area previously characterized as too important to fish and wildlife to mess with) ended yesterday.
     
  13. Matt Baerwalde

    Matt Baerwalde ...

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    You call Canyon Falls insignificant, I call it spectacular. Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. Seems like as long as you can catch a fish in low flow at the base of a falls that the integrity of the falls themselves matters not to you. C'est la vie, I suppose. And "minor" dewatering? What's your threshold for moderate or significant dewatering? This project would have the capacity to, and would indeed, divert a majority of the SF Sky's flow around the bypass reach for a portion of the year.

    Your "opinion" about LWD and sediment retention is mistaken. Have you participated in the proceedings or familiarized yourself with the PAD? If you had, you would have seen that SnoPUD is doing all they can to avoid keeping the necessary equipment (large booms) on site to move LWD over the weir. And you're wrong about about them "constantly" moving things from the intakes. Just not the case. It's the impoundment itself that changes the frequency and duration of those times when bedload is mobilized over the weir site.

    I'm also curious which people object to PSE's Snoqualmie Falls project because of diminished beauty. Never heard of that. There was a court case that had to do with religious freedom and the Falls as a Traditional Cultural Property. "Beauty" was not part of that case.
     
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  14. Checkthisout

    Checkthisout Member

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    You're right that I haven't studied it that closely yet.. but I don't see how making the existing pre-falls pool slightly deeper is going to have any major impact on the relatively bedrock-lined stretch of riverbed in that area?

    LWD and the majority of the sediment that flushes through and will get flushed through will get moved during high water events that take place yearly. The diversion dam just isn't in a place where it's going to change river topography all that much.

    We'll also get the benefit of a guaranteed funding source for the fish trap.
     
  15. Matt Baerwalde

    Matt Baerwalde ...

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    Good to know your position even though you haven't studied it all that much. I have. There is no existing pool where the dam is proposed. It is a glide. I've stood on the site a number of times in the past few months. There is bedrock on one side, and a large gravel bar on the other. A dam there will change things both physical and intangible. This latter part is of particular importance to me. I enjoy recreating on and just knowing that free-flowing rivers exist. Some folks are more for developing everything that can make a kilowatt. Others don't seem to really give a crap as long as the fishing is good, be it artificially enhanced or otherwise.
     
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  16. rockthief

    rockthief Fly fishing = food for my soul

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    No no no no no no no no no no...
     
  17. Checkthisout

    Checkthisout Member

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    I disagree. See below

    [​IMG]

    There is a substantial pool that has already formed upstream of the falls. All that will happen is the pool will become slightly deeper along with what will probably be a pretty neat looking dam and intake structure that will look like it has grown out of the bedrock.

    I just don't believe low-rise diversion dams have a substantial impact on portions of rivers that already have large falls and deep pools due to having carved down into the bedrock.

    What's the difference between a pool/spillway formed by nature vs one made by man when the one made by man is in a section of river that already has such a configuration?
     
  18. Joe Goodfellow

    Joe Goodfellow Active Member

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    We don't own earth we belong to it.
     
  19. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

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    The simple matter of boring the 19 foot diameter intake tunnel reaks of environmental disaster to me, for starters.
     
  20. Checkthisout

    Checkthisout Member

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    The electricity running your computer that you are using to showcase your concerns has to come from somewhere.
     

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