LIHI Certfiies Snohomish PUD No. 1's Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project on the Sultan River, Washington

Snohomish PUD Recieves LIHI Certification for the Henry Jackson Dam on the Sultan River


Portland, Maine (September 22, 2011) – The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) at their September 22, 2011 meeting the Institute’s Governing Board determined that the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project meets the LIHI Certification Criteria.  In reaching its decision to certify the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project, the LIHI  Governing Board reviewed the application for certification, as well as the Application Reviewer’s report.  The Board’s vote to certify the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project was unanimous and the Board approves certification for the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project for eight-years[1] with the following project specific conditions: 

Due to the newness of the FERC license and current uncertainty with its final adoption as issued, LIHI reserves the right to withdraw its certification should either event occur which modifies the Project's compliance with the LIHI criteria:

1. That the FERC license issued September 2, 2011 is adopted without challenge by the District. The deadline for a rehearing request is October 2, 2011, which is 30 days from license issuance; and,

2. That no requests for rehearing are filed by any resource agency that was signatory to the Settlement Agreement that would result in substantive modification of the conditions established in the Settlement Agreement which are pertinent to the LIHI certification process.

The effective certification date for the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project is April 7, 2011 and will expire on April 7, 2019.   Any Commenter may submit a letter to the Executive Director within 30 days of the posting of the Certification Decision on the Institute’s Web page.  An appeal request must include specific reasons why the hydropower facility should have failed one or more criteria.  If an individual or organization did not comment on the initial Application Package, they may not file an appeal.

Portland, Maine (March 17, 2011) - The Low impact Hydropower Institute received a comment letter from Thomas O'Keefe of American Whitewater.  A pdf version on this letter is available at the "Files" section at the bottom of this page.

Portland, Maine (January 17, 2011) – The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced today that the Public Utility District No.1 of Snohomish County (“PUD”) has submitted an Application for LIHI Certification for the Henry Jackson Hydroelectric Project (“Project”). The Project is located on the Sultan River in Snohomish County, Washington.

Background -The PUD and the City of Everett (“City”) filed a joint application with the Federal Power Commission (now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,“FERC”) in 1960 to develop what was then known as the Sultan River Project.

From the beginning, the Project was seen as serving two purposes; generating power for the PUD from the waters of the Sultan River and increasing the City’s water supply system to meet growing demands. A license authorizing construction of the Project in two phases was issued on June 6, 1961. On July 6, 1979, the PUD and the City filed an application with the FERC to amend the original license with a revised hydroelectric scenario that the PUD thought was better suited to the regional economic and load demand projections, and to reduce the environmental impacts of the original design. The FERC granted this amendment on October 16, 1981, and construction of generating facilities and raising of Culmback Dam started in 1982. The current operating license for the Project will expire on May 31, 2011. The PUD filed a Notice of Intent and Pre-Application Document with the FERC on December 1, 2005. Thereafter, in accordance with the Integrated LicensingProcess, multiple consultation meetings were held with private and governmental stakeholders, resources and issues were identified, and environmental study plans were finalized. Environmental and anthropological studies were conducted to develop the detailed information needed to determine appropriate management actions.  The PUD filed its Final License Application on May 29, 2009,with the FERC.

On October 14, 2009, the PUD filed a comprehensive Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) on behalf of itself, United States National Marine Fisheries Service, United States Forest Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States National Park Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Ecology, Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Snohomish County, City of Everett, City of Sultan, and American Whitewater.

The Agreement resolved among the signatories all issues associated with issuance of a new license for the Project, including, in part, reservoir operations, minimum instream flows, process flows, whitewater boating flows, ramping rates, fish passage, fish habitat improvements, wildlife habitat management, marbled murrelet protection measures, recreation, and historic properties management. The PUD expects the FERC to issue a new license by March 2011 or shortly thereafter.

Project Description - The Project reservoir, Spada Lake, has a gross area of 1,908 acres at elevation 1,450 feet msl with a gross storage capacity of 153,260 acre-feet. While the maximum operating pool is at elevation 1,450 feet msl, the normal maximum surface elevation is 1,445 feet msl (normal maximum surface area = 1,802 acres with a storage capacity of 143,982 acre-feet), typically occurring from June through mid-July. Annually, starting in late July, the pool is lowered to elevation 1,415 feet msl by mid- September to avoid spill later in the fall. This measure provides approximately 58,500 acre-feet of incidental flood storage prior to the onset of the October to December wet season. There is no minimum normal operating pool elevation for the Project because operations vary depending on the winter hydrologic conditions. To avoid vortex stresses in the power tunnel, diversion of water into the power tunnel ceases if the pool elevation drops to 1,380 feet or lower. 

 The Project uses all inflow to Spada Lake to generate power except for required minimum instream flow releases (to protect and enhance fisheries) and any spill at Culmback Dam.   Culmback Dam is an earth and rock-filled dam, located at RM 16.5 on the Sultan River, with a crest elevation of 1,470 feet msl. The crest of the dam is 25 feet wide, 640 feet long, and is 262 feet above the original streambed. A concrete morning glory spillway is located within the reservoir approximately 250 feet from the right bank. This spillway has a 94-foot diameter ogee crest, a 38-foot diameter vertical shaft and a 700 foot horizontal tunnel section. The morning glory spillway crest elevation is at 1,450 feet msl and is designed to pass the probable maximum flood of 57,790 cfs at elevation 1,464.6 feet, or 5.4 feet below the crest of the dam. Reservoir outlet works consist of two 48- inch-diameter conduits embedded in the concrete plug of the diversion tunnel that join the horizontal tunnel section of the spillway. The downstream ends of the conduits are equipped with three slide gate valves (two 42-inch and one 48-inch) and one 48-inch Howell Bunger valve. A 16- inch diameter pipeline runs through the right side of the dam at elevation 1,408 feet, then along its downstream face. This pipeline provides 20 cubic feet per second (cfs) minimum flow releases when the spillway tunnel is dewatered for maintenance or safety inspections. Normal flow releases are accomplished through a 10-inch cone valve piped upstream of the 48-inch Howell Bunger valve that directs flow into the spillway tunnel. A 60 kilowatt (kW) turbine generator in the dam outlet works provides onsite electrical power and contributes about 5 cfs to the reach below Culmback Dam. The total flow released by the 10-inch cone valve and the 60 kW turbine generator is 20 cfs.

The Powerhouse intake structure is located near the left abutment, approximately 250 feet upstream of the dam. The 110-foot-tall concrete structure has three 20-foot moveable panels. Positioning of these panels allows the selective withdrawal of stored water from various depths to facilitate the control of water temperature in the Sultan River below the Powerhouse and the Diversion Dam. A single 9-foot wide by 14.3-foot high fixed-wheelgate allows for closure and maintenance of the power tunnel. The gate is operated by a hydraulic cylinder on the access bridge. Hydraulic pressure for the gate operation is provided by a motorized hydraulic power unit located in an enclosure adjacent to the gate hoist.

An unlined power tunnel, 14 feet in diameter, extends 3.8 miles from the intake structure through Blue Mountain. The tunnel has 3,140 feet of shotcrete-covered steel reinforcing to protect various soft rock areas. At the end of the power tunnel is a 150-foot-long rock trap to capture materials that fall into the tunnel. This collector prevents debris from entering the 10-foot-diameter welded steel power pipeline that transports water for 3.7 miles to the Powerhouse located on the lower Sultan River. 

Public Comment - We encourage public comments on this application. Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think this project meets our LIHI criteria. Review the program and criteria in greater detail and then review the Project’s  application. Comments that are directly tied to specific LIHI criteria (flows, water quality, fish passage, etc) will be most helpful, but all comments will be considered.  Comments may be submitted to the Institute by e-mail (preferred) at with  “Henry Jackson Hydropower Project comments" in the subject line; by fax at (206) – 984-3086; or by mail addressed to LIHI, 34 Providence Street, Portland, ME, 04103. Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on March 17, 2011 to be considered. All comments will be posted to the web site and the applicant will have an opportunity to respond. Any response will also be posted




Relicensing Studies - Summary

Settlement Agreement

Water Quality Certification

Environmental Assessment 2010

Terrestrial Resource management plan

Directive #73 - Public use of project recreational and mitigation lands


LIHI Certification Application

LIHI Filing Notice 1-17-11

American Whitewater Comment Letter 3-17-11


Decision Letter 11/16/2010
Download File

© The Low Impact Hydropower Institute * | Think Web Technology, LLC web development and seo