Noxon Rapids celebration & protecting the environment   


Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending the rededication of the Noxon Rapids Dam in Montana – 50 years after it first started cranking out renewable hydroelectric power. The dam is an important piece of Avista’s electric generation – providing 548.4 megawatts. That’s enough power for about 411,000 homes for comparison sake.

But the ceremony was more than what the power provided means. It was about Sanders County and its people. The dam certainly changed the face of the county half a century ago. It brought jobs, schools, a doubling of the population and it undeniably changed the environment on the Clark Fork River. This is why the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement was also celebrated yesterday. About 10 years ago, the agreement was signed for managing and protecting the natural resources associated with the hydro project.

As many speakers noted during the day, the settlement agreement wasn’t easy. It was really the first of its kind to bring in multiple stakeholders as a team to figure out what’s best for the surrounding environment. The money that is usually spent on lawyers and litigation during the long relicensing of dams, could now be spent on the work needed to be done to help mitigate any environmental impacts.

It took trust and faith that Avista would follow through on its promises. Looking back 10 years later, the agreement is a standout success, as speakers from environmental groups, local tribes and government agencies attested. It’s a living relicense that is monitored constantly – the work continues today.  You can learn more about the agreement here.

Not to get “all touchy feely,” but yesterday really made me proud of my company and co-workers. It was a great day.

In the news
Today in the Missoulian, reporter Vince Devlin wrote a really great article, "Celebrating consensus: Noxon Rapids Dam commemorates 50th anniversary" about the Noxon events and even interviewed some the attendees during a tour of the dam. I’d really recommend taking a look at it
Posted by  System Account  on  10/2/2009
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