The project, on the Sultan river in Washington, US, was built in two phases. The first phase, completed in 1965, involved the building of Culmback dam and the creation of the Spada Lake reservoir to increase the water supply. Phase II, completed in 1984, involved raising Culmback dam, which increased the size of Spada Lake four times.

In the past, FERC relicensing required dam operators to submit project reports and license requests before public input was taken. But operators said amending reports and meeting mitigation demands that late in the process was too costly.

Stakeholders complained the late review didn’t offer adequate time to study a re-licensing request. FERC now requires agencies such as the PUD to begin public-input meetings before its request for a new licence.