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Agencies Analyzing Modernization of Dams, Water Diversions in Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Posted by Andrea Imler at Mar 29, 2016 05:15 PM |
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Chelan County and the Washington State Department of Ecology are proposing modernization of dams and water diversions on lakes within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Eightmile Lake by Ken Peterson
A hiker looks down on Eightmile Lake. Photo by Ken Peterson.

Chelan County and the Washington State Department of Ecology are proposing modernizing and increasing the size of dams and water diversions on lakes within Washington's crown jewel wilderness—Alpine Lakes Wilderness—to provide more water to fish, new home development and agriculture.

The lakes under review through a current State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) analysis include seven lakes in the incredibly popular Enchantment Lakes region: Colchuck, Eightmile (photo of existing diversion dam from trip reporter Kinnearej), Nada, Upper and Lower Snow, Upper Klonaqua and Square.

Washington Trails Association is concerned with the potential impacts of new dams and water diversions in Alpine Lakes Wilderness for recreation and trails in the wilderness. The Enchantment Lakes region of Alpine Lakes Wilderness is one of the most visited areas of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Thousands of hikers travel to the area each year to visit these spectacular lakes.

We will be analyzing the project and accompanying environmental analysis from the state agencies. Join our Trail Action Network so you can stay informed about the proposed Icicle water project and other issues.

You can also attend one of two public meetings being hosted by government agencies to learn more about the proposed water project.

Attend the meeting to learn and make your voice heard next week

When: Wednesday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Where
: Phinney Center, 6532 Phinney Avenue N, Seattle 98103 (just west of Green Lake)

Can’t make it to the Seattle meeting? There are two other ways to get involved:

  • Attend a Leavenworth public meeting on April 20, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Leavenworth Fire Hall.
  • Send a public comment about the project by May 11, 2016.  Comments can be sent to mike.kaputa@co.chelan.wa.us

Icicle Water Project map
Icicle Water Project work group map. Click to see a larger version.

More background

In 2012 the Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River provided funding to Chelan County to form a workgroup to address Icicle Creek water quantity issues and fish habitat concerns. A comprehensive list of proposed projects can be found on Chelan County’s website.

Find more information about the Icicle Work Group, including the SEPA document.

The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is managed by the United States Forest Service. The Forest Service must conduct an environmental analysis before any projects can move forward. The Forest Service has not begun its process yet, but are participants in the Icicle Work Group.

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