Alpine Lakes Dams, Water Project Proposal Could Impact Lakes in Enchantments
In 2016, Chelan County and the Washington State Department of Ecology proposed new, enlarged dams and other water-related projects in the incredibly popular and beloved Alpine Lakes Wilderness Enchantment Lakes region. That proposal, called the “Icicle Strategy” is now here.
In 2016, Chelan County and the Washington State Department of Ecology proposed new, enlarged dams and other water-related projects in the incredibly popular and beloved Alpine Lakes Wilderness Enchantment Lakes region. Since then, WTA has been anxiously awaiting the environmental review (the next step in the process). That proposal, called the “Icicle Strategy” is now here.
We're still analyzing the more than 1,600-page document, but we wanted to alert you to two upcoming public meetings where you can hear more and provide input on the plan.
Attend a public meeting OR COMMENT
Chelan County and the Department of Ecology are hosting an informational meeting in Bellevue about their proposal next Mon., June 25. On Wed., June 27, the two agencies will host a public hearing in Leavenworth to take comments on the plan. Details for the two meetings are below.
Public Hearing & Open House – Leavenworth, WA
- When: Wednesday, June 27 - 4-8 p.m.
- Where: Leavenworth Festhalle (1001 Front Street, Leavenworth, WA)
- What: Learn more about the Icicle Strategy and provide comments to the lead agencies.
Informational Meeting – Bellevue, WA
- When: Monday, June 25 - 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
- Where: Washington State Department of Ecology office (3190 160th Avenue S.E., Bellevue, WA)
- What: Learn more about the Icicle Strategy. (Note: public comments will not be taken at this meeting.)
Can’t make it to the public hearing in Leavenworth to provide comments?
- Comment by email. Comment on the proposal now at firstname.lastname@example.org. The comment deadline is July 30, 2018.
- Sign up to learn more. In early July, WTA will be providing more information and analysis on the proposal, as well as an opportunity to comment. If you would like to stay informed about this issue, join WTA’s Trail Action Network. We’ll be sending out an action alert in early July in response to this proposal.
3 Early concerns
WTA's initial assessment of the proposal turned up a few early concerns, including new, larger dams and water diversions in Alpine Lakes Wilderness and negative impacts for recreation and trails in the wilderness.
Thousands of hikers travel to the area each year to visit these spectacular lakes. The Enchantment Lakes region of Alpine Lakes Wilderness is one of the most visited areas of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. While we understand the need for more water for fish, homes and agriculture in the greater Leavenworth area, the Icicle Strategy has some proposed project approaches that would have lasting negative impacts on the wilderness and for hikers.
Some of the options proposed within the Icicle Strategy include:
- Increasing the size of the dam on Eightmile Lake, which could flood the trail and campsites around the lake.
- Increasing the size of the dams on Upper and Lower Snow lakes, which would raise the level of the lake and will likely flood the trail and campsites around the lake.
- Boring a tunnel from Upper to Lower Klonaqua lakes, which would likely have significant negative impacts to the land surrounding the lakes.
WTA would like to see these projects removed from the Icicle Strategy, while keeping other elements of the strategy, including: habitat protection and enhancement projects, fish passage, fish screening and water conservation efficiencies.
In 2012 the Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River provided funding to Chelan County to form a workgroup to address Icicle Creek water quantity issues and fish habitat concerns.
Find more information about the Icicle Strategy and environmental review, visit Chelan County’s website.
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is managed by the United States Forest Service. The Forest Service must conduct an environmental analysis before any projects can move forward. The Forest Service has not begun its process yet.