American Whitewater Files in Opposition to Dewatering Ernie's Gorge
Last week American Whitewater joined with American Rivers, North Cascades Conservation Council,
and Alpine Lakes Protection Society in intervening to oppose the issuance of a preliminary permit
for the Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project. Known to paddler's as Ernie's Gorge, the river
section proposed for development has been found eligible and recommended for designation as a
Wild and Scenic River by the United States Forest Service, and is identified as a protected area
from hydropower development by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. The river forms the
border for the Department of Natural Resources Mt. Si Natural Resources Conservation Area that
includes some of the best remaining intact old-growth riparian forest at low elevation in the
western Cascades. Finally, the lands along the river are protected by a conservation easement
held by King County that specifically prohibits hydropower projects of the scale proposed.
Dozens of paddlers weighed in with individual comments. Local paddler Brian Vogt noted that the, "unique combination of high gradient, technical rapids, and vehicle access throughout the winter make the North Fork Snoqualmie the definitive training run for the regions best boaters." He further added what many paddlers know, "no substitute is available within several hours of Seattle that might provide similar options."
Paddler Brian Fletcher eloquently described the experience paddlers feel on this river: "From the minute a kayaker puts his boat in the river on Ernie's Canyon until the last hundred yards where the canyon opens back up again, the North Fork of the Snoqualmie provides one the feeling of being in a completely isolated, wild, and free flowing river; something that kayakers around the world will spend their entire lives looking to experience." Many paddlers from across the country who have had the opportunity to experience this run mirrored this sentiment.
Additional information on the project can be found with the application documents filed with FERC. Links to comments and interventions from key stakeholders are also linked below.
Application for Preliminary Permit for Black Canyon Hydro, LLC by Chris Spens under P-14110
Response from Black Canyon Hydro, LLC under P-14110.
COMMENTS AND INTERVENTIONS
Motion to Intervene of American Whitewater, American Rivers, North Cascades Conservation Council, and Alpine Lakes Protection Society for the Black Canyon Hydro Preliminary Permit Application under FERC Project No 14110.
Comments filed in behalf of Conservation NW, Paddle Trails Canoe Club, The Mountaineers, Sierra Club-WA Chapter, WA Recreational River Runners, and WA Wilderness Coalition on Notice of Acceptance for Black Canyon Preliminary Permit Ap, FERC P-14110.
Motion to Intervene and Comments of David Zarett in behalf of THR LLC under P-14110.
Motion to Intervene of King County under P-14110
Comments of Metropolitian King County Council re the Preliminary Permit Application for the Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project under P-14110.
Comments of Hancock Forest Management re the Motion to Intervene and comments on the preliminary permit application for the Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project under P-14110.
Motion to Intervene of Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife under P-14110.
Motion to Intervene of City of Snoqualmie under P-14110.
Motion to Intervene of TULALIP TRIBES OF WASHINGTON under P-14110.
Snoqualmie Tribe's motion to intervene and comments re Black Canyon Hydro, LLC's Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project under P-14110.
The Department of the Interior Submits Comments on the Notice of Application for Preliminary Permit for the Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project under P-14110, King County, Washington
Comments of City of North Bend re the Preliminary Permit Application by Black Canyon Hydro, LLC for the Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project under P-14110.
Motion to Intervene of Washington State Department of Natural Resources under P-14110.