Dam On Sullivan Creek (WA) Closer to Removal
Late last month the State of Washington issued a key permit for the removal of Millpond Dam on Sullivan Creek. The permit, issued under the Clean Water Act, reflects a 2010 settlement agreement reached between the dam owner, the Forest Service, the State of Washington, American Whitewater, and several other parties. The permit gives the dam owner up to 2 years to finalize removal plans prior to implementing the removal.
Millpond Dam, and an old crib dam inundated under the reservoir will be gradually removed as the reservoir is drained and Sullivan Creek is diverted around the reservoir area. American Whitewater will be involved in the final dam removal and river restoration planning over the next couple years. Our emphasis will be in restoring the historic river channel and rapids now buried under muck and reservoir water. We recently created a stream modification guide to help inform this process.
Millpond Dam is being removed because it has not generated power in half a century yet has significant impacts on native fish. Funding for the removal is being provided by Seattle City and Light as part of a mitigation package for their nearby Boundary Hydroelectric Project. This creative solution helps relatively few local ratepayers of the Public Utility District that owns Millpond Dam avoid the significant costs of dam removal. While Millpond Dam is being removed from Sullivan Creek, Sullivan Dam, which raises the natural Sullivan Lake by 25 feet will remain in place.
It will be an exciting day when Sullivan Creek is once again free-flowing, and the state permit brings us one very big step towards that future.
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.