The Kitsap Sun reported on the new license issued recently by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the Cushman Hydroelectric Dams to operate legally for the next 38 years. The new license comes out of a settlement between the Skokomish Tribe, the city of Tacoma and federal and state natural resources agencies. The dams, since their installation in the 1920s, have severely impacted the flow on the North Fork of the Skokomish River. However, in March 2009, the flows were increased up to 240 cubic feet per second.
The new license allows Tacoma Power to add generators to capture energy from increased flows restored to the North Fork of the Skokomish River. The generators will be able to produce up to 3 megawatts of electricity.
The settlement agreement includes a one-time cash payment of $12.6 million to the Skokomish Tribe, along with 7.25 percent of the revenue from power produced at the lower Cushman Dam and transfer of lands valued at $23 million, including Camp Cushman on Lake Cushman, the 500-acre Nalley Ranch at the mouth of the Skokomish River, and Saltwater Park near Potlatch on Hood Canal.
Joseph Pavel, vice chairman of the Skokomish Tribal Council, said he was pleased that FERC approved the license according to the settlement.
“We look forward to working with the city as partners in the watershed, implementing the conditions of the license,” he said.