LEAVENWORTH- Chelan County Commissioners provided a status report this week on the Eight-Mile Lake Dam repair project.
The century-old dam is owned by the Icicle/Peshastin Irrigation District. Last year’s Jack Creek Fire ravaged the surrounding mountain sides leaving the lake vulnerable to severe runoff and possible dam failure.
The first phase of repairs has been completed but more work is planned according to Commissioner Keith Goehner:
“They’re talking about taking pipe up there to install a siphon so they can drain the lake a little more and get the in-stream flows,” Goehner said. “They’d like to get up there yet this Fall and do some work on the dam, that’s still being worked out with the permits and all the paperwork.”
Goehner said losing another season of worth of water storage would impact more than just the irrigation district.
“Hopefully they’ll get it done,” Goehner said. “With the flows and just the need for water in the watershed it’s important to have that lake managed as it has been and meter that water out over the course of the summer.”
Goehner says the irrigation district hopes to eventually replace the antiquated dam with a newer more stable structure.
“What they ended up doing this Spring was they took the earthen portion of the dam out and what they need to do is basically install a dam,” Goehner said. “The visual difference is that it will be a modern dam as opposed to a dam built in the 1920s or 30s. The earthen portion will probably be a concrete wall, there will be a wider spillway and the gates will look different. It will be more of a visual fixture up there as opposed to just blending in with the environment the way it did.”
The project is currently undergoing an environmental impact study and is available for review and public comment through the Washington State Department of Ecology.