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Enloe Dam

Enloe Dam


What is the regulatory status of Enloe Dam?

On August 13, 2019, as affirmed on December 19, 2019, FERC issued an order terminating the Enloe Dam Hydropower License. Upon termination of the FERC license, regulatory authority fell to the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Enloe Dam’s placement on federal property managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requires the District to have a Grant of Right of Way (ROW) from BLM. The current ROW expires on June 30, 2063.

What is the District currently required to do with Enloe Dam?

As the owner of Enloe Dam, the District is obligated to ensure public safety and to meet all dam safety regulations of both Ecology and BLM. In order to meet these obligations, the District is undertaking a visual inspection of portions of the Dam that are normally inaccessible for inspection because they are beneath the flows over the spillway. This visual inspection will require “dewatering” a portion of the face of the Dam.

District staff performed an alternatives analysis to examine several dewatering alternatives, specifically taking into account safety, environmental impacts, the ability to repeat the dewatering, the likelihood of success, and overall project costs. Based on the results of the evaluation, the District elected to pursue rehabilitating the existing, inoperable gate system and installing a section of new penstock to divert water.

This infrastructure allows for the diversion of up to 1,000 cubic feet per second of water around the right bank of Enloe Dam through the newly replaced gates and the new section of steel penstock. The facilities allow for additional inspections to be conducted in the future, for as long as the Dam remains in place.

What is the schedule for the Enloe Dam Safety Repair and Maintenance Project?

Construction activities have concluded for the Enloe Dam Safety Repair and Maintenance Project.   There will be intermittent activities from August 29, 2022 through September 19, 2022, as part of the comprehensive dam safety inspection.  Preparations and the actual inspection of the dam face, toe, and abutments will occur during this time.

The Similkameen Spur Trail will reopen on July 29, 2022.  The trail will remain open until August 29, 2022, when the Spur Trail must be temporarily closed for site preparations and the comprehensive dam safety inspection of Enloe Dam.  The trail will remain closed through September 19.  Efforts will be made to have the trail open on Saturdays and Sundays during this period.  If the Spur Trail is unable to be open during those weekends, notices will be posted at the trailhead to notify the public.

During the comprehensive dam safety inspection, access will be restricted to both sides of Enloe Dam, due to public safety concerns.  This closure will occur during the period of time that the dam face is dewatered, which is currently estimated to last between three and five days.  

There will be a designated area for public viewing during this time, approximately 1,300’ feet from the Loomis-Oroville Road, on the Enloe Dam Road.  THERE WILL BE NO AREAS FOR PARKING.  Those who want to access this point will have to be dropped off or walk from the Similkameen Spur Trail head, which is an additional two miles.

Why did the District decide to not continue pursuing re-energization?

On November 19, 2018, the Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a motion to no longer pursue electrification of Enloe Dam and to permit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license to terminate. This decision was based on the complexity, risk, and considerable cost involved in restoring power generation. The Board of Commissioners made this decision in the best interests of the ratepayers, considering the current availability of cheaper sources of power.

Why is the District still spending money on Enloe Dam?

Since the establishment of the PUD and its acquisition of Enloe Dam, there have always been financial obligations associated with owning and maintaining the structure. The District is at all times committed to fulfilling its obligation to ensure the safety of the structure with the least cost impacts to its ratepayers. Dam safety investments need to be made now, regardless of the future direction. Any decision on the future of Enloe Dam will require a lengthy, likely decades-long process, and the District cannot in the meantime neglect its duty to ensure public safety.




     Enloe Dam Article, August 2021, Northwest Public Power Association Magazine


The District is aware of the desire on the part of some stakeholders to remove Enloe Dam. However, there is no requirement to do so. Nevertheless, the District remains open to reviewing comprehensive proposals from interested stakeholders that include, but are not limited to, the following criteria:

  • Independent feasibility assessment that collects and evaluates scientific data, including:
    • Determination if Enloe Dam was built on the second set of falls or a run of falls.
    • How anadromous fish would pass after removal, either naturally or artificially.
    • Would artificial passage be allowed by all interested parties?
    • What agencies will fund and manage the new fish populations?
    • Process for establishing new ESA habitat above Enloe Dam and impacts to private property owners, irrigators, and the Palmer Lake fishery.
    • Delineation of suitable habitat for anadromous fish above Enloe Dam, with current data.
    • Comprehensive sediment analysis of the 2.43 million cubic yards of sediment, behind Enloe Dam, approved by the Washington State Department of Ecology.
    • Process for cultural resource mitigation requirements by removing a structure on the National Register of Historic Places.
    • Dam removal cost estimate based on preliminary engineering designs.
    • Ability to compete for funding with other habitat projects in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Approval from the Canadian government will allow new fish populations to cross the border.
  • Scoping process for the public, upstream and downstream landowners, affected cities, irrigators, and other interested parties.
  • Identification of a partner with the means to fund Dam removal.
  • Identification of a partner who can relieve the District of any future liability.

The District has been engaged in Enloe Dam removal conversations as far back as the 1960s. In 2015, the Board of Commissioners under Resolution No. 1603, continued its direction to staff to work with proponents of dam removal. That offer has remained open as there is clearly a desire by stakeholders to remove the dam. For seven years the District entertained the same discussions with the same dam removal proponents, with no new data and no comprehensive removal plan.

However, recently, on June 13, 2022, Richard Roos-Collins of the Water and Power Law Group PC, presented the Board with a memorandum (memo) that describes a feasible pathway to purse removal of Enloe Dam.  The memo analyzes potential liabilities arising from dam removal, along with strategies to avoid and manage such liabilities.  On July 25, 2022 the Board of Commissioners passed Resolution No. 1775 supporting a process to evaluate the potential Enloe Dam removal, as outlined in the memo.  The resolution states the Board of Commissioners determined the memo is consistent with the District’s criteria for proposals to evaluate removal of Enloe Dam and emphasizes key points that must be met for District Staff to effectively collaborate with the process.

Richard Roos-Collins Memorandum

Resolution 1775