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What should happen to Enloe Dam? The dam on the Similkameen River near Oroville, which is owned by the Okanogan County PUD, hasn’t produced power in 64 years.

The Methow Valley News reports that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has presented a grant of 2-point-three million dollars to conduct a feasibility study to answer that question.

Trout Unlimited and the Colville Confederated Tribes have two years to conduct the Enloe Dam Removal Feasibility Study and Alternatives Analysis Project. According to Warren Colyer, Trout Unlimited's Western Water and Habitat Program Director, the study will look at the full spectrum of alternatives, from leaving the dam in place to partial or full dam removal. It will compare the costs and benefits of different scenarios, taking into account economics, sediment management, fish habitat, and impacts on the river. And if removal proves feasible, the study will include a preliminary design for removing the dam.

Fish biologists have said that removing Enloe could provide access to more than 300 miles of habitat for endangered steelhead in the Similkameen basin in British Columbia. In announcing the grant, NOAA said the dam's removal would open access to cold water habitat, improve tribal fishing opportunities, and reduce the risk of flooding.

But that's not the only study that's due; Trout Unlimited is heading up a companion study requested last year by the Washington Legislature to analyze issues connected with potential dam removal and restoration of the Similkameen River. The Legislature provided $250,000 to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for the study. The report to the Legislature is due at the end of June.

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