The Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) plans an Oct. 25 "open house" and is inviting public comments on a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) that looks at what impacts removing Condit Dam might have on the ecology of the White Salmon River in Klickitat County.
Condit Dam, which is owned by PacifiCorp in Portland, has produced hydroelectric power on the White Salmon River since 1913. The company is seeking to decommission and remove the dam.
The document primarily addresses water quality concerns and is a supplement to environmental impact studies on the proposal by PacifiCorp to remove the hydroelectric project, prepared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The additional information is needed before the state can make a decision on whether the proposal to remove the dam will meet state water-quality and other environmental mandates. The state must approve water-quality certification and a state construction stormwater permit before the dam can be removed.
"While the FERC document covered most of the issues, more information was needed on both long-term and short-term water-quality concerns surrounding dam removal," explained Derek Sandison, central region director for WDOE. "Concerns included how backed-up sediments and debris would be managed, as well as what effects dam removal would have on wetlands, endangered fish, and fish passage."
An open house will be held on Oct. 25, during which both verbal and written comments will be accepted on the draft SEIS. The open house will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Park Center Building, 170 NW Lincoln St., in White Salmon.
Written comments may be sent to WDOE's Derek Sandison at 15 W. Yakima Ave., Suite 200, Yakima, Wash., 98902, or e-mailed to: ConditDam@ecy.wa.gov, no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 15.