Baker River Hydroelectric Project
Lake Shannon day use park
April 2021- PSE is constructing a public day use park at the Lake Shannon boat launch site. The new park will provide parking, restrooms and a picnic shelter for the public to enjoy starting in the fall of 2021. This project helps PSE meet Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requirements as part of the licensing agreement for the Baker Hydroelectric project.
Construction is anticipated to last up to five months and should not impede access to the boat launch. Any potential impacts to the boat launch will be communicated via this webpage and posted signage onsite and along Baker River Road.
For more information regarding construction details, please read the park use notification, which was mailed to residents in the Concrete area in early April.
Jory Oppenheimer, Project Manager
Baker River Visitor and Interpretation Center
Baker River Visitor and Interpretation Center
April 2021- PSE is building the new Baker River Visitor and Interpretation Center (Center), which is anticipated to be complete in the fall of 2021. The new Center will provide interpretive and educational information to the visiting public about the mission of PSE, the project and its facilities, visitor security and safety, the geographic area where the project is located, and the cultural and natural resources of the area.
The new Center will be housed in a historically significant building in the Baker River area nicknamed the “Club House.” 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 that will honor its character, history and provide a point of interest for community members and visitors alike to enjoy for years to come.
Club House construction began in late March and will last approximately five months and is not anticipated to affect Baker River Road, but some noise from heavy machinery may be audible to nearby residents.
The Baker Club House as it stands now
A rendering of the planned external renovations for the PSE Baker River Visitor and Interpretation Center
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 will embark on safety and modernization work at the dam in late 2021 lasting for approximately five years. We’ll be sharing more information about this project with the community in the coming months.
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:
Explore the interactive map below to see the locations of the sirens.