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Ross Dam. The Plan

Construction began in 1937, originally named the Ruby Dam project. Four construction phases were planned. In 1940 Phases 1 and 2 were completed at a height of 305 feet or 93 meters above the river. The dam was renamed in memory of James Ross, project superintendent, after he died.

In 1945 the dam height was increased again and in 1949 Phase 3 was completed in 1949 at 540 feet or 160 meters. At this height the reservoir, at full pool, extended just over the Canada / USA border. It first filled over the border in 1954.

Ross Dam. Today.

Phase 4 was planned but never built. Following sustained transboundary opposition to raising the dam another 125 feet or 38 meters, the High Ross Treaty was signed between the Province of British Columbia and the City of Seattle. Ross Dam, together with downstream Diablo and Gorge Dam provide approximately 1/5 of Seattle's electricty.

Seattle's 'Skagit Project' operates under a federal license that is up for renewal in April 2025. A relicensing process is underway for a 30 to 50 year renewal term. Relicensing involves a review of the safety, cost, environmental and cultural impacts of ongoing operation of the Skagit Project dams.