American Whitewater is pleased to release the first of two planned films on the removal of Mill Pond Dam in northeastern Washington. This short film explores the history of the dam and the early stages of its removal through on-site interviews and footage of the removal process. Over the next two months the removal of the dam will reveal a section of Sullivan Creek not seen for over a century, and we will then produce a follow up film of the newly recovered stream.
American Whitewater began working on Sullivan Creek in the late 1990’s when the dam owner sought to re-energize the long defunct hydropower project. That idea was abandoned in 2002, and in 2006 the owner sought and won a decision to relieve them of federal oversight. American Whitewater and the US Forest Service successfully appealed that decision in 2008. Our win triggered two years of intensive and collaborative discussions with the dam owner and other stakeholders. This creative process led to a settlement agreement in 2010 that included dam removal, improved flow releases from a separate dam on a tributary, and significant benefits for local ratepayers.
Since 2010 a great team of engineers and other professionals have been planning the dam removal and securing the necessary permits. American Whitewater has been an advocate for a restoration approach that respects the natural riverbed and natural processes, and is sensitive to public recreational use. Dam removal began this September, and should be completed later this fall. The reservoir site will be graded and planted with native forest species in 2018, and the historic stream channel will be restored.