A history of the Skagit River basin snow surveys and hydroelectric project

TitleA history of the Skagit River basin snow surveys and hydroelectric project
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2004
AuthorsPattee, S.
Conference Name72nd Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 72nd Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 2004
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationRichmond, B.C.
KeywordsSnow course, SNOTEL, Skagit River, hydroelectric, Seattle City Light

Follow the trials and tribulations of snowpack data collection through a historic timeline within the Skagit River Basin in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington State. From past to present, snow survey data was collected in support of the major hydroelectric project that provides electricity primarily to the City of Seattle. The first recorded snow surveys were conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 1944 at 8 manual snow courses. Canadians began collecting data in support of the project in 1946. Throughout the years, numerous snow courses and Aerial markers were started and some later discontinued. The Natural Resources Conservation Service, in cooperation with Seattle City Light, took over data collection responsibility in 1979 and began converting select manual sites to automated SNOTEL stations. The network now consists of 6 SNOTEL sites and 11 manual snow courses with support of 7 aerial markers.