BOX CANYON DAM

Updated March 21, 2009

This small hydropower dam, located at river mile 34.41 on the Pend Oreille River, is only 62.4 feet high and produces 69 megawatts yearly. Constructed in 1956, it did not include any fish passage.  Developed and managed by the Pend Oreille Public Utilities District (PUD), the recent relicensing has been very contentious, but recent settlement has been reached between the PUD, federal and state governments and the Kalispel Tribe. It is available on the PUD’s website.

The PUD has agreed to fish passage of some kind.  It might be as simple as “trap and haul” which is just like it sounds. They also agreed to a Trout Habitat Restoration Program that will restore 164 miles of tributary habitat  within the next 25 years in the Calispell, Cee Cee Ah, Cedar, LeClerc, Indian, Mill, Ruby, and Tacoma creek watersheds.

“Restoration” of each stream segment will include some or all of the following measures as determined necessary by experts: channel improvements (limited to geomorphologic improvements and barrier removal), floodplain restoration, riparian corridor restoration, fencing, conservation easements and/or purchases, non-native fish removal and reintroduction of target fish species. This adds a huge chunk of habitat and impetus to the recovery of bull trout within the Pend Oreille River watersheds.  With additional success at Albeni Falls Dam and Boundary Dam, it may be possible within a few decades that bull trout will once again swim throughout their historic range in the Columbia basin.

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