Hyrdro Dam proposed on S. Fork Skykomish

Cruik

Active Member
#21
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.
 

scottr

Active Member
#23
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.


My issue is we don't need another [email protected]%^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
 

Cruik

Active Member
#25
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.
 
#27
Bumping this. Only 3 days left to comment.
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.
 
#28
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.
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.
 

good samaritan

fly high, fish fast
#29
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.
 
#30
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.
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. ;)