Stanwood Camano News
Snohomish County Public Utility District has reached agreements with several key parties as part of the relicensing of the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project, located north of Sultan.
The settlement agreements are the result of an exhaustive collaborative process with more than a dozen interested stakeholders, including federal and state agencies, tribal government, municipalities and a non-governmental organization.
A broad variety of interests are served under the agreements, including significant measures to provide: environmental and recreational benefits, improved protections for Treaty-reserved resources for the Tulalip Tribes, a municipal water supply and low-cost, emission-free hydroelectric power.
The Tulalip Tribes, one of the key parties supporting the agreements, were instrumental in helping to scope issues, submit study requests and review study data and technical reports.
"This signing helps demonstrate that two positive forces in the community have agreed to move forward in a renewed, energetic partnership,” said Steve Klein, Snohomish PUD General Manager. "The PUD is very pleased to work hand-in-hand with the Tulalips on projects of mutual interest focused on fish, wildlife, water, energy and environmental stewardship. I’m confident many good things are going to be accomplished.”
"We are pleased the Tulalip Tribes and the PUD reached an agreement that will improve protections for salmon and other natural and cultural resources that are critical to our people,” said Tulalip Tribes Chairman Mel Sheldon. "These important agreements pave the way for the Tulalip Tribes and all of Snohomish County to benefit from environmental protection and continued power from the Jackson Hydro Project.”
In addition to the Tulalip Tribes, several other key parties contributed to the process, including: the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington State Department of Ecology, Snohomish County, city of Everett, city of Sultan and American Whitewater.
The settlement agreement and proposed new FERC license call for a series of measures to continue to protect and enhance Spada Lake and the Sultan River basin. Among these measures, the settlement includes:
• Increasing river flows in the reach of the river just below Culmback Dam;
• Creating diverse habitat conditions for fish using several means including large woody debris;
• Re-connecting and enhancing old side channels to the Sultan River to provide additional habitat;
• Modifying a natural landslide and the City of Everett’s diversion dam, as needed, to improve fish passage,
• Continuing management of old growth areas and noxious weeds;
• Monitoring and protecting historic properties;
• Protecting local wildlife, such as the Marbled Murrelets, and terrestrial habitat;
• Providing scheduled whitewater flows for recreational use;
• Improving boat ramps;
• And converting former roadways into hiking trails.
The Jackson Hydroelectric Project serves two valuable purposes. The clean, renewable energy source provides about 5 percent of the PUD’s energy needs and about 80 percent of Snohomish County’s water supply needs.