Seattle City Light is committed to managing the Skagit Hydroelectric Project in a responsible manner that ensures that dam facilities are staffed with essential personnel to enable safe and reliable operations. City Light’s Skagit team 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 the greater Skagit area.
The utility continues to follow the guidance from Governor Inslee’s Washington “Safe Start” plan, which provides additional direction on resuming recreation and other activities.
Update on Skagit Recreational Areas (June 11, 2020)
The National Park Service plans to reopen access to the North Cascades National Park on June 12. Access to City Light’s generation facilities, restrooms, group campsites and visitor centers will remain closed. The Skagit General Store is also closed to the public. The utility’s EV charging stations at the Newhalem parking lot are currently available for public use. For additional park information, please visit: nps.gov/noca/learn/news/north-cascades-national-park-service-complex-increases-recreational-access-to-more-areas.htm.
City Light facilities are restricted to utility employees and residents. We appreciate your patience and cooperation to comply with these measures.
We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and how that will impact the Skagit Tours season. We will provide an update on this as the situation evolves. You can find more information about Skagit Hydroelectric Project recreational opportunities at this link: seattle.gov/light/skagit/Recreation.asp.
Update on North Cascades Highway (SR 20) Reopening at Newhalem
The North Cascades Highway (also known as State Route 20) reopened on May 12. This stretch runs from milepost 120 at Newhalem to milepost 177 at Early Winters Campground. For additional traffic information, please visit: wsdot.wa.gov/travel/highways-bridges/passes/north-cascades-highway/home.
City of Seattle Continuity of Operations Plan and Ensuring Safe and Reliable Dam Operations
With the 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 the Skagit Hydroelectric Project are considered a critical service and the dams are 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.
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 Communications Director, at email@example.com.
Information updated on June 11, 2020