Eightmile Dam rebuild & restoration

Backhoe moving rocks to repair a dam

Emergency temporary construction at Eightmile Dam

Environmental review is set to begin on plans to repair and restore Eightmile Lake Dam in the Icicle Creek watershed. As a result of flood damage and erosion caused by impacts of the Jack Creek Fire in 2017, a state of emergency was declared, and the 90 year old dam was designated a high hazard and a threat to downstream residents and property.

The Icicle and Peshastin Irrigation Districts (IPID) made emergency repairs to the dam in the summer of 2018. Over the last couple years, IPID has worked with Ecology’s Dam Safety Office to developed options to restore and rebuild the dam to meet current safety standards.

We're accepting comments on what should be included in the scope of a full environmental impact statement (EIS) being prepared under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The EIS will examine the potential environmental consequences of each proposed alternative to rebuild the dam.

Overview and recent events

Eightmile Lake is one of four lakes within the boundary of Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area managed by Icicle and Peshastin Irrigation Districts (IPID). A small dam, low-level outlet pipeline, and slide gate at the outlet of Eightmile Lake allow for controlled releases of stored water to supplement flows in Icicle Creek and provide irrigation during low flow periods, typically during late summer.

Icicle Creek also supports the domestic water supply for the city of Leavenworth, hatchery fish raised at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, streamflows and natural aquatic habitat for wild fish, and recreation.

Floodwaters overtop an earthen and rockwall dam

In the spring of 2018, floodwaters and runoff overtopped Eightmile Dam.

The 2017 Jack Creek Fire in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness burned several hundred acres in the Eightmile drainage. In spring of 2018, increased runoff filled the dam so much that water began flowing over the earthen portion of the dam resulting in an emergency declaration and temporary repairs at the dam. Reconstructing the aging dam structure at Eightmile Lake is crucial to protecting downstream residents, the natural shorelines and habitats of Icicle Creek near Leavenworth in Chelan County, and the water use of area irrigators.

As a result of these events, Ecology’s Dam Safety Office (DSO) evaluated the dam and designated it as a high hazard for failure and a threat to people and property downstream. DSO regulates dams in Washington and through the administration of state laws and rules ensures that safety is the priority to protect people and property located downstream of dams. Ecology’s Office of Columbia River (OCR) is expediting the completion of an EIS for Eightmile Dam. Prior to issuing final permits for the rebuild of Eightmile Dam, OCR will complete an environmental review of potential impacts to the watershed, downstream aquatic resources and water users within the basin. 

Eightmile Dam Site EIS: The first step to preparing an environmental impact statement is to invite the public to weigh on what should be studied in the EIS, and what types of mitigation should be considered. 

Public comment period: The scoping comment period begins on Dec. 18, 2020, and runs through Feb. 1, 2021. We're expanding the required 21 day scoping comment period to 45 days to promote interagency cooperation and public participation. 

Submitting a comment: You can submit a comment electronically, during a meeting, or by mail. Comments are weighted equally whether they are provided during a meeting, mailed, or submitted electronically.

Submit a comment online. 

Mail a comment to: 
  Department of Ecology
  Central Regional Office
  Attn: Melissa Downes
  1250 West Alder Street
  Union Gap, WA 98903

Public meetings:

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, Gov. Jay Inslee directed state agencies to conduct public meetings remotely  We are asking participants to register in advance so that we can ensure that we have reserved enough slots with our online vendor for everyone. The content shared at each meeting is the same so participants only need to register for one meeting.

Alternatives and supporting documents 

Questions about the EIS

Please contact Melissa Downes, Office of Columbia River, 509-454-4259