Enloe Dam Website Contents -

  1. - News

  2. - Courtroom Updates (PCHB April 16-19)

Links -

American Whitewater Similkameen River

American Rivers

Columbia River Bioregional Education Project

Hydropower Reform Coalition

Contacts -

Rachael Paschal Osborn, Center for Environmental Law & Policy

Jere Gillespie, Columbia Bioregional Education Project

Rich Bowers, Hydropower Reform Coalition

Thomas O’Keefe, American Whitewater

Project History

The Enloe Dam obstructs the Similkameen River just upriver from the confluence with the Okanogan River.  In dimensions, the concrete dam is 54 feet high, arching 276 feet across the river.  The reservoir -- now mostly filled with over 2 million cubic yards of sediment -- is 2 miles long, 200 feet wide, and about 9 feet deep.  The dam can be accessed by driving upriver from Oroville on County Road 9425, or from Canada through the border crossing at Chopaka.

Enloe Dam, Similkameen Falls. (photo - Okanogan PUD)
The Similkameen River drains the east slope of the Cascade Mountains.  Most of the 3,600 square mile watershed -- 90 percent -- is in Canada. The Enloe Dam plugs the Similkameen River near its confluence with the Okanogan River.     Click on map to enlarge

Enloe Dam and Similkameen River (center), confluence with Okanogan River (right) at Oroville, WA.  Yellow line is the international boundary. Click on map to enlarge

Construction of Enloe Dam was completed in 1920 by Eugene Enloe to provide power for mines near the community of Nighthawk.  Washington Waterpower purchased the dam, and in 1942 sold it to the Okanogan Public Utility District (PUD).

In 1956, the Federal Power Commission (FERC ’s predecessor agency) issued a license to the PUD for the project. In 1959, the PUD ceased operation of the project because the generating equipment had become obsolete and the dam could not compete with less costly power sold by the Bonneville Power Agency. 

Salmon blocked by Enloe Dam.

In 1981,the PUD filed a new FERC application to license a project at Enloe Dam, then referred to as the Enloe Project (Project No. 2062). FERC issued the license in 1983. Three years later FERC rescinded the new license on the grounds that anadromous fishery issues had to be resolved before a licensing decision could be made.

In 1991, the PUD filed a second application.  In 1996 FERC granted a license for a 4.1 megawatt project.  At the PUD’s request, FERC stayed the license and, in 2000, rescinded it.  Ongoing uncertainty and disagreements over upstream anadromous fish passage explain FERC’s rescinding licenses in 1986 and 2000.

In 2005 the PUD received a permit from FERC that gave it priority in seeking a license at Enloe Dam.


Okanogan PUD


Updates –

August 13  Groups Appeal State’s Decision to Dewater Similkameen Falls

Several national, state, and Okanogan County-based public interest organizations appealed a decision by the Washington State Department of Ecology that would allow a proposed hydropower project on the Similkameen River to move forward.  The project, proposed by Okanogan PUD, would reduce Similkameen Falls to a trickle. The Falls are located immediately downstream of the dam and could potentially attract thousands of visitors to the area each year, bringing up to $516,000 to the local economy. The groups appealed the decision because Ecology failed to adequately consider the water quality and aesthetic impacts of the project, which are an important part of the state’s water quality standards under the Clean Water Act.

View:  full news release

January 24  Economics & Enloe Dam

A new analysis completed by Rocky Mountain Econometrics of Boise, ID reveals the extreme unprofitably of the proposed Enloe hydropower project on Washington's Similkameen River.  The study concludes that it is not possible for the Okanogan PUD to sell power from Enloe at or above the cost of producing it, and that the PUD will lose $26 for every megawatt hour produced at the dam. 

The study was prepared for the Columbia River Bioregional Education Project, in partnership with Hydropower Reform Coalition Members American Rivers, American Whitewater, Center for Environmental Law and Policy, North Cascades Conservation Council, and the Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club.  Conservation and recreation groups are calling on the Okanogan PUD to replace its out-of-date 2008 analysis and provide ratepayers with a realistic evaluation of Enloe Dam economics.

View – Economic Analysis

View – News Release

Enloe Dam - Similkameen River