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Sullivan Creek Releases Have Begun (WA)

Posted: 09/09/2015
by Kevin Colburn

Sullivan Creek is a beautiful advanced/expert level creek that tumbles out of the lush Selkirk Range in the remote northeastern corner of Washington State. American Whitewater worked with the dam owner and other local stakeholders to improve the fall drawdown water releases from Sullivan Lake for whitewater paddling, economic value, and ecological considerations. Drawdown releases began yesterday, and are anticipated to provide ideal paddling conditions starting today, and extending through much of the fall.    

American Whitewater partnered with the dam owner to offer public flow information through our website via two online gages.  You can monitor the flows here.  If water temperatures rise to unacceptable levels releases will be ratcheted back, so keep an eye on the gage.  Also, new non-funtioning gate components may make the flow changes this fall a bit more abrupt than they will be in the future, but the dam owner will do their best.  

As part of the same agreement an unrelated dam upstream on Sullivan Creek is slated to be removed in 2018.  Mill Pond Dam is 50 feet tall and has not generated power in over 50 years.  Its removal will improve ecological and recreational values, while eliminating a financial and environmental liability. We'll be anxious to see if there are rapids beneath the reservoir that have been inundated for century.      

Sullivan Creek, like most regional streams, tends to collect strainers.  This fact combined with the committing gorges and Class IV and V rapids makes it  suitable only for teams of advanced paddlers.  This video contains most of the rapids at around 200-225 cfs. Be careful out there, and enjoy this unique opportunity.  Please support local businesses while you are in the area.    


Associated Gauges

Disclaimer Data Sources

Sullivan Creek (AW#72828)


Sullivan Creek (AW#72828)

243 cfs 02h37m

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.