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Shanker’s Bend Hydropower Project, WA

STATUS: In progress, with opposition

TYPE: Hydropower

OPPOSITION: Hydropower Reform Coalition; The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society


BACKGROUND: Shankers Bend is a 42-megawatt water storage and hydroelectric project located on the Similkameen River in Okanogan County, Washington. The proposed project to be located just one mile upstream of the Enloe Dam Project. On December 18, 2008, FERC issued a preliminary permit for the proposed project.

In March 2009, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society applied for intervenor status before U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in order to protest the proposal's destructive ecological effects in British Columbia. The society argued the reservoir would flood a delicate ecosystem that is home to 16 federally listed species at risk, including the long-billed curlew, Lewis' woodpecker, tiger salamander, Great Basin spadefoot toad, Umatilla dace, Columbia mottled sculpin, and western rattlesnake. The Society also argued that such a reservoir would violate the International Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, which protects against either country creating a dam that would "raise the natural level of waters on the other side of the boundary" unless agreed upon by the International Joint Commission. 

On June 2, 2009, FERC dismissed the intervention request for lack of timeliness. There was no information available as to whether an appeal was sought.

The Hydropower Reform Coalition also opposes the project and is lobbying FERC to review this project along with Enloe Dam, given their proximity; however FERC has maintained that the two are separate. 

According to the Third six-month preliminary permit progress report for the project submitted on June 2, 1010 by the Public Utility District for Okanogan County, the project is still in progress and studies are being conducted.

SOURCES: Okanogan County Public Utility District: http://www.okanoganpud.org/shankers/shankersmain.htm;
Hydropower Reform Coalition: http://www.hydroreform.org/news/2009/01/02/proposed-dams-move-forward-on-washingtons-similkameen-river;
Vancouver Sun: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=99bbb948-4e4b-424b-8b76-cd7bd34aa235;
Omak Okanogan Chronicle: http://www.omakchronicle.com/nws/n090828a.shtml;
Shankers Bend Project Power Point: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/cwp/images/pdf/ppt_files/similk-1a_pag.pdf;
U.S. FERC: http://www.rdosmaps.bc.ca/min_bylaws/contract_reports/CorpBd/2009/06June18/3_1FERCdismissalofBCsintervention.pdf;
Progress Report: http://www.okanoganpud.org/shankers/3rdSixMonthPrelimPermitProgressReport.pdf

Last updated December 2, 2010