Baker River Hydroelectric Project
What’s coming up at Baker?
Lake Shannon day-use park
The new public day use-park at the Lake Shannon boat launch site is now open to the public. The new park features expanded parking, restrooms, picnic tables, charcoal barbecues, and a covered picnic shelter for the public to enjoy. This project helps PSE meet Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requirements as part of the licensing agreement for the Baker Hydroelectric project.
The park is open from April 15 to October 31, annually. Park hours are from dawn until dusk. At this time PSE is not accepting reservations for the picnic shelter, and is first come, first served. For questions and concerns regarding the park, please contact the Major Projects hotline:
Photo: Pamela Snavely (left), PSE Baker Hydroelectric Project Plant Manager and Tony Fuchs, PSE Consulting Resource Scientist, cut the ribbon at the new Lake Shannon Day-Use Park opening celebration.
Tony Fuchs, Park Manager
Baker River Club House Visitor and Interpretation Center
Baker Club House Visitors Center
Baker River Club House Visitor Center is closed for the season. Grounds are open for walking. The renovated Club House provides interpretive and educational information to the visiting public about the mission of PSE, the hydroelectric project and its facilities, visitor security and safety, the geographic area, and the cultural and natural resources of the area.
Historic Preservationists, Archaeologists and cultural resource experts have worked with community, government and tribal stakeholders to design and develop the rehabilitation of the Club House which honors its character, history, and provides a point of interest for community members and visitors alike to enjoy for years to come .
Before and after
Photo: (Left to right) Pamela Snavely, PSE Baker Hydroelectric Project Plant Manager; Rick Hartson from the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe; Mayor of Concrete, Jason Miller; and Ron Roberts, PSE Vice President of Generation cut the ribbon at the Grand Opening Ceremony on June 9 in Concrete, WA.
The Club House is open again in spring of 2023.
For more information regarding this project, please contact:
Elizabeth Dubreuil, Consulting Resource Scientist
Modernization and safety work
In an effort to ensure continued public safety and reliability in the operation of Lower Baker Dam, PSE began safety and modernization work at the dam in early 2020 late 2021 lasting for approximately five years. The community of Concrete will experience an increase of construction traffic as this work progresses through the mobilization phase. For more information regarding this work, please see the notification that was mailed to the community in late 2021 detailing the construction schedule.
Puget Sound Energy's largest hydropower facility is the Baker River Hydroelectric Project, located on a tributary of the Skagit River in northwest Washington. The project includes two concrete dams and their associated powerhouses and facilities. The project reservoirs, Baker Lake and Lake Shannon, are fed by runoff from the flanks of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan.
The Baker River Hydroelectric Project covers almost 300 square miles 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.
Starting upstream on the Baker River system is the Upper Baker Dam, a 312-foot-high concrete gravity dam completed in 1959 with 107 megawatts of power-generating capacity. Downstream is the 285-foot-high Lower Baker Dam, a concrete arch dam completed in 1925, which has a generating capacity of 111 megawatts. The power project also contains extensive salmon-enhancement systems, including a fish hatchery and innovative facilities for moving migrating fish both upstream and downstream around PSE's two dams.
The project creates more than 7,203 acres of water surface that provides public recreation, fisheries, flood risk management and hydropower benefits for the communities in the Skagit River Valley and the greater northwest. To ensure public safety in the operation of its facilities, PSE complies with strict federal regulations, and has developed a comprehensive Dam Safety Program. PSE was awarded a 50-year federal operating license for the project in October 2008.
Baker River Dam early-warning siren system
As part of PSE's Dam Safety Program and Emergency Action Plan, PSE upgraded the early-warning siren system for the project in 2018. The upgrade increased the sound coverage area, taking the system from three sirens to eight. Additional information is provided in PSE's pamphlet on public safety around dams.
The sirens are tested once a month. During the siren test, the sirens sound for less than one minute. The siren test occurs on the second Monday of every month at 6 p.m. To hear the siren messages and tone, download the audio files below:
Early-warning siren system testing took place on June 15, 2021.
Explore the interactive map below to see the locations of the sirens.