Boundary Dam Operations Update
On Friday, May 1, Governor Inslee extended the statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order until May 31. The order was first announced on March 23 in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We know that these necessary preventative measures have changed the way we live, work, and play. Many jobs look different today than they did several months ago.
Seattle City Light is committed to managing Boundary Dam in a responsible manner that ensures the dam is staffed with essential personnel to enable safe and reliable operations. The City Light team at Boundary Dam continually strives to find the balance between operational flexibility and measures that protect and mitigate for the environmental impacts of operations. These measures address recreation, aquatic, terrestrial, cultural, and wildlife resources and benefit the environment and the communities in and around Boundary Dam.
Update on Forebay Recreation Area Facilities (May 19, 2020)
The Forebay Recreation Area and Metaline Waterfront Park boat ramps are open for public use as of May 5.
The Forebay Recreation Area campground will reopen to the public on Thursday, May 21. The utility is following Governor Inslee’s Washington “Safe Start” plan, which provides additional guidance for resuming recreation and other activities. The campground is opening under the following guidelines:
- The campground is limited to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. Camping will only be permitted at designated sites.
- Camping activities will be limited to five or fewer people from outside your household.
- Public restrooms will be closed, but City Light will be providing ADA-accessible portable toilets. Visitors should plan to bring their own supplies such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional guidance about visiting parks and recreational facilities. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/visitors.html.
The Boundary Dam Vista House is closed, but the parking area, picnic tables, viewing platform and trail are open to the public. The Vista House restrooms are closed, but portable toilets will be provided outside of this facility. Boundary tours are indefinitely suspended for the 2020 season.
Visitors can learn more about Boundary Hydroelectric Project Recreational Opportunities at www.seattle.gov/light/Boundary/recreation.asp.
City of Seattle Continuity of Operations Plan and Ensuring Safe and Reliable Dam Operations
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the City of Seattle operationalized its Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for COVID-19 on March 13. This COOP ensures the continuation of critical services in the event of an emergency. Operations at Boundary Dam are considered a critical service and the dam is staffed with essential personnel to ensure safe and reliable operations. The City of Seattle continues to revise and update the COOP to make sure that amidst this pandemic, we can continue to perform our critical functions that residents and businesses rely on.
Planning for Springtime Runoff
Seattle City Light staff are committed to strategically maintaining the optimal elevation level for the reservoir at Boundary Dam during the summer recreation season. The Pend Oreille River flows are controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Albeni Falls Dam, just outside of Oldtown, Idaho. The river flows north through Box Canyon Dam to Boundary Dam. City Light employees are currently preparing for the springtime runoff by conducting maintenance tasks on the generators, turbines, and spillways. The snowpack is at normal levels this year and the utility expects to have a solid supply of water to generate electricity.
City Light’s Commitment to Safe Employees and Reliable Service During the COVID-19 Crisis
Our service is an essential need and its reliability is a top priority. City Light is prioritizing essential critical infrastructure work in accordance with Governor Inslee’s order. We are committed to providing safe and reliable power and ensuring the health and safety of our employees and the communities in which we live. We regularly review and update internal guidelines to make sure employees are properly informed and trained. We distribute information about COVID-19, including general health and safety tips as well as resources for teleworking. Our Safety group ensures all work meets COVID-19 regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Those who must work in a City Light facility are practicing safe social distancing and access to those locations is limited to essential employees. We are enhancing cleaning practices and distributing hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to those who must report to our facilities. Crews will carry proof that the work they are doing qualifies as essential critical infrastructure work in accordance with Governor Inslee’s order.
For more information, please contact Julie Moore, Seattle City Light Interim Communications Director, at email@example.com.
This information was updated on May 19, 2020.