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AW Participating in Sullivan Creek Negotiations (WA)

Posted: 06/23/2009
by Kevin Colburn

Over the past several months American Whitewater has been participating in 

mediated settlement negotiations regarding the surrender of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for the Sullivan Creek Hydroelectric Project. The negotiation team, which is made up of a mix of state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, the Pend Oreille Public Utility District, local officials, and representatives of the local community, is working with the help of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to find options for resolving the issues for surrender of the Project license


The negotiation team is exploring opportunities for enchancing the management of Sullivan Lake in a manner that benefits both recreation and the environment.  Several options are being considered for Millpond, including dam removal. Sullivan Dam raises the level of the once natural Sullivan Lake by 25 feet and is responsible for the drawdown releases every fall that provide boating opportunities.  Millpond is a 50 foot tall dam that impounds Sullivan Creek, just upstream of the lower Sullivan Creek Gorge. 


The team is currently working hard to collect data on Millpond sediments and bathymetry, Sullivan Creek flows, and various fisheries issues. The good news to report is that the sediment study showed that there is no toxicity in the Millpond sediments.  The team is continuing to develop a package of items for lake management that would meet the needs and interests of all of the stakeholders, including community interests (both recreation-oriented and economic), cabin owners, fishing enthusiasts, conservationists, tourists, boaters and swimmers.  The team is also exploring different sources of funding for special enhancement projects. 


Information on the project is available at the project’s website:

Associated Rivers


Associated Projects

Sullivan Creek (WA)
Two dams in the Sullivan Creek watershed no longer generate power. One was removed in 2017 as the result of a 2010 Settlement Agreement.