PSE and the Baker [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: PSE and the Baker

01-15-2004, 01:25 PM
Anyone else watch these guys? What the hell are they doing up there?

01-15-2004, 01:38 PM
It is possible that the gauging station is haveing problems.I dont think that they can ramp the river up and down at those rates.

01-15-2004, 02:45 PM
Actually they are doing this. They are dewatering chum beds by doing this. PSE doesn't care. I believe the way it works with the baker is that it is either all on or all off. Don't know if we can do anything about this. My understanding is that they know this is the situation but the dam is the way it is.


01-15-2004, 05:01 PM
Since PSE upgraded its turbines on Shannon Dam about 1 1/2 years ago, they supposedly either have let no water through the turbines or have them run at full tilt. And FERC gave them permission to do this!

You are right about PSE not caring about fish. Remember these are the folks who dredged the Baker channel, cut a new "ditch" as a straight shot to the Skagit, and eliminated about 2 miles of prime spawning habitat from what used to be the Baker River's streambed and channel back in the early 60's so they could have the dam work as a peak power facility.

Also, remember the hoopla PSE's PR arm put out 2 years ago about how they were going to restore 1/2 miles of spawning channel by building a "spawning channel" next to the now ditch the lower Baker is. Notice they have not done any work to bring this into existence.

Seems like PSE had been on a PR mission to convince folks and regulators that they care about anadromous fish in order to have thier FERC license renewed through "articulated agreements" instead of the full licensing review process. And this they accomplished last year. Now they can avoid doing many of the things which will help the fish.


Don't you also just love the rate increase they have asked the state public utilities commission to approve? After all, they need the rate increase to "pay for the fish enhancing improvements in the dam operation".

01-16-2004, 09:13 AM
It is my understanding that the flow jockeying that occurred this week was a test of new way of managing flows from the Baker projects. As stated before the physical set of the turbines seems to dictate that they essentially be operated all on or off result in swings in flow of nearly 4,000 cfs. The test was to see the what happen when that power was generated full on for 1 hour and off for 1 hour. The result over a day would be the same as operating at half speed. Of course it results in the jagged hydrograp show. In fairness the modeling should that by the time one was 10 miles below Concrete the flows would flatten out (due to the storage effect of the large pools found in the river) with the river level moving up and down a inch or two. The hydrograph down river should that jaggness of the graph seen at Concrete did in fact disappear.

While the concern about de-watering redds was mentioned that is only one of the potential impacts from the flow flucations seen in hydro operations. If the dams were operated as seen in this test the potential of suddenly lowering water levels downstream of the project would be limited to the upper 10 miles or so of the roughly 55 river miles downstream. However the largest impacts on salmon generally has been the strtanding of young fry associated with the dropping of the flow. The young fry hug the banks and are caught in pockets etc and as a result die. This is especially a big problem when those flow reductions occur at night. Since roughly 80% of the chinook, pink, and chum production in the basin occurs upstream of the Baker those fry would still be subject to the flow changes in that upper portion of the Skagit below the Baker. Guess it still remains how PSE hopes to address that issue but I for one don't see reducing de-watering of some redds a win without protection of the fry as they rear and migrate.

Tight lines

01-16-2004, 10:05 AM

What do you know about the water coming out of the Baker River Project? It seems to me that in the last few years the water flowing from the lower Baker dam has been extremely colored compare to previous years. It seems that ever since PSE lowered the level of Shannon to do maintainance on their turbines the Baker River has been spewing out some mucky looking water. How much damage if any is this doing to spawning areas below the Baker River? Does the dirty water have any negative affect on fry and/or migrating fish below the Baker? We all know what the mess coming out of the Baker does for fishing. It seems to me that this amount of crap being poured into the Skagit cannot be good.



Brian Simonseth
01-16-2004, 10:48 PM
PSE has did nothing for fish! Kerry and I talk about this for years!
They can't run below 3500, so they RUN all or nothing.

Kerry hit the nail on the head(PSE HEAD)

01-18-2004, 10:45 AM
has anyone here gotten ,or know of anyone who has gotten study reports from the corpse engineers,,i've been digging into some `stuff' down here in southern ore. ,,;wondering if they just give copies of their studies out ,or,will i get the door slammed on me??:confused: