Baker River Dam

About the Baker River Project

The Baker River Hydroelectric Project covers almost 300 square miles and is fed by runoff from the flanks of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan in Washington state. Several entities own land within the Baker River basin, including the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, and PSE.

The project’s two dams were completed in 1925 and 1959. Each has its own powerhouse and reservoir. There are also extensive salmon-propagation facilities. Numerous recreational activities in the basin are available for the public. Find out more about the Baker River facility.

Licensing the Baker River project

The Federal Power Commission, now known as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), originally licensed the Baker River Project in 1956 as Project No. 2150. In March 2000, with the expiration date for the original license approaching, PSE began the re-licensing process.

Before issuing or renewing a hydroelectric license, the FERC requires a thorough project evaluation. This process requires years of extensive planning and collaboration, including environmental studies, federal and state agency consultation, and public involvement. The FERC ensures that all issues and concerns related to a hydroelectric project are identified and discussed. More than 100 representatives of the public, tribal organizations, governmental agencies, and other groups participated in the process, examining every aspect of the Baker River Project. After conducting numerous studies, public meetings, and interest-group sessions, PSE filed a license application with the FERC in April 2004.

In October 2008, the FERC issued PSE a new 50-year operating license for the Baker River Hydroelectric Project. The license contains specific requirements about many aspects of the hydroelectric project, including structures, equipment, water quality and other environmental issues, wildlife and fisheries programs, operating procedures, stream flow, land management, recreational facilities, historical and cultural issues, and more.

A PSE team works year-round to fulfill the Baker River Project license requirements. The team oversees the creation and execution of detailed plan documents that state how PSE will fulfill its license responsibilities. In addition, the team meets regularly with interest groups, conducts studies, advises on certain aspects of Baker River Project operation, and submits a large number of reports to the FERC and other agencies and groups to show how PSE is complying with the license.

Project Documents

Many of the plans, reports, and studies related to the Baker River Project license, along with relevant meeting notes and correspondence, are available here in PDF format.

License and Amendments

Plans and Studies