Box Canyon Hydroelectric Project
Nestled in the Selkirk Mountain Range in the northeast corner of Washington State, the Box Canyon Hydroelectric Project produces low-cost electricity from water, a clean and renewable energy source. Flanked by steep rock cliffs and situated in a narrow portion of the state’s second largest river, the Pend Oreille (Pond-er-ray), Box Canyon operates in a “run-of-the-river” mode, using water as it is available.
The Box Canyon Hydroelectric Project is owned by the people of Pend Oreille County and operated by Pend Oreille PUD. Construction of the project began in 1952 and was completed in 1956. Our PUD was the first PUD in the state to build its own dam. There were no local, state, or federal tax dollars used in its construction.
Today, as it has since generation first began in 1956, the Box Canyon Hydroelectric Project provides its customers with clean, reliable, and competitively priced energy. Power from Box Canyon is transmitted along the PUD’s transmission line for distribution to its customers.
Location: Pend Oreille County, WA
Height of Dam: 62.4 Feet to top of gates
Dam Location: River Mile 34.41 Head of Water: 46 Feet maximum
Mode of Operation: Run-of-the-River
Type of Turbines: Kaplan
Capacity: 90 MW Number of Turbines: 4
Expected Production: 60 MW avg.
Type of Dam: Concrete Gravity
Reservoir Length: 55 Miles
Completion Date: 1956
Length of Dam: 160 Feet
Upgrade Completed: 2015
Box Canyon Dam Tours
During the summer months, our staff would be glad to discuss our facility with you. Tours begin in the Visitor Center with an explanation and demonstration of how electricity is generated at Box Canyon Dam. Just outside the building, the tour will continue with a narrative description of specific points of interest. Also available to visitors are many interesting historical photos and videos of the dam’s construction. Directly south of the dam structure is our Viewpoint which offers picturesque views of Box Canyon Dam and the Pend Oreille River.
PUD’s Stewardship and Habitat Enhancement Efforts
As part of its continuing stewardship and commitment toward preserving the environment and beauty of the river, the PUD participates in many collaborative environmental efforts, including fish net pens located with the local Chamber at Metaline and Metaline Falls, where over 45,000 trout are released into the river each year; and with Pend Oreille County, the Milfoil Control Project, the goal of which is the removal of milfoil near for safety and aesthetic reasons near boat ramps and swimming areas and to provide pathways in other areas to provide varied habitat for fish.
In recent years, the PUD purchased over 750 acres along the Pend Oreille River, which are maintained for wildlife habitat. Continual efforts to enhance the habitat of these properties are being made by the PUD. Cattle, which had overgrazed the lands, have been fenced out, allowing the natural grasses to return; hazardous materials, old buildings, and tons of debris have been removed; and riparian corridor tree planting is ongoing.