Friends of the Similkameen-
We want to let you know about our litigation to help save Similkameen Falls. Together with other river groups, we are challenging the Washington Department of Ecology water quality permit issued for the Enloe Dam project. The permit allows a reach of the Similkameen River, from Enloe Dam to below Similkameen Falls, to be dewatered for eight months of the year. Only a trickle of water (10-30 cfs) will flow between Enloe Dam and over Similkameen Falls if the Okanogan PUD gets its way.
The lawsuit comes to trial in mid-April of 2013. We have terrific attorneys who are litigating this case for free. We hired national experts in recreation and aesthetics. We have raised money from foundations and other sponsors, but we need local help to pay for our experts’ trial testimony and litigation costs.
Please send what you can to save the Similkameen River and its beautiful falls TODAY. Our litigation was successful before the Pollution Control Hearing Board to require the Okanogan PUD to conduct a flow study to determine the minimum flow necessary to protect aesthetic and cultural values of Similkameen Falls within the first three years of Enloe Dam if it is re-electrified.
Please send your donations to either of these 501 (c) (3) organizations:
Center for Environmental Law & Policy (“Enloe” in the memo line)
911 Western Avenue—#305
Seattle WA 98104
Columbiana – Columbia Bioregional Education Project (“Enloe” in the memo line)
2055 Chesaw Road
Oroville, WA 98844
A little background:
The Okanogan PUD has long maintained that the Similkameen River is in a remote region of the county and of no interest to anyone. Yet, as you well know, hundreds if not thousands of us, revere this special place, its mists, cool shade, cascades and rushing waters, the salmon and steelhead bunching up in the pools below the falls.
As well, the new Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT) goes along the Similkameen River from Oroville to just below Enloe Dam. This Trail is an exciting addition to the economy of Oroville and North Okanogan County. Enloe Dam and Similkameen Falls is an official Viewpoint at the present terminus of the developed trail.
Under Washington State law, water quality includes aesthetics, and protection of those values of a river which enhance recreation. Our lawsuit seeks to persuade Ecology to require more water over the Falls than they are currently requiring.
If our PUD obtains a license to construct power generating facilities at Enloe Dam, they will be there for 40 to 50 years. That is a long time for a stretch of river to be deprived of it customary flow of water.
Please consider making a donation of any amount you can give. Together we can keep the water flowing over Similkameen Falls.
Columbiana’s partners include: Center for Environmental Law & Policy, a public interest water resources law firm; Hydro-Reform Coalition & American Whitewater, two national river organizations; The Sierra Club; and North Cascades Conservation Council.