License issued: 7/9/2013
License expires: 7/1/2063
The Enloe dam and development was originally constructed for hydroelectric generation between 1919 and 1923. The project operated from 1923 to 1958 when it was decommissioned. The original project included an intake, penstock, and powerhouse located 850 feet downstream of the dam on the west bank of the Similkameen River. On September 13, 1996, the Commission issued an order to Okanogan PUD to redevelop the Enloe Project using the existing dam and rehabilitating the original intake, penstock, and powerhouse. However, on February 23, 2000, that order was rescinded.
Okanogan PUD proposes again to redevelop the Enloe Project by using the existing concrete gravity arch dam impounding a 76.6-acre reservoir, and constructing a new penstock intake structure and above-ground steel penstocks carrying flows from the intake to the new powerhouse located 370 feet downstream of the dam on the east bank of the Similkameen River. The existing dam crest elevation of 1,044.3 feet would be increased by installing new 5-foot-high crest gates which would increase the reservoir to 1,049.3 feet elevation and the surface area to 88.3 acres. The powerhouse would contain two vertical Kaplan turbine/generator units with a total installed capacity of 9.0 MW. The project would also include a substation adjacent to the powerhouse, and a 100-footlong, 13.2-kilovolt primary transmission line connecting the substation to an existing distribution line. The project would also include about 1.5 miles of new and upgraded access roads.
The Enloe Project would operate automatically in a run-of-river mode, with a normal operating water level of the reservoir between 1,048.3 and 1,049.3 feet mean sea level.
Enloe Dam and powerhouse were constructed in the 1920s but use was discontinued in the early 1950’s. The outdated infrastructure remains on the river as the local utility continues attempts to license the project. There have been several licensing attempts for the Enloe Hydroelectric Project (FERC P-2062, P-10536, and P-12569) as well as a proposed project upstream on Shanker’s Bend (FERC P-12804).The Enloe Dam project has been controversial for both environmental and economic reasons. Of particular concern is the current proposal to bypass virtually all of the river flow into the new turbines, de-watering Similkameen Falls for most of the year. The Falls represent an important cultural/historical resource for Native American Tribes and First Nations in the area.The Falls also represent a viewpoint/terminus for the newly developed Similkameen River Trail, which occupies the abandoned Great Northern Railway rail bed and is to be designated as a segment of the 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, which runs from the continental divide in Montana to Olympic National Park. The tourist draw of the Similkameen River Trail is expected to bring significant revenue to the Oroville area.