EVERETT, Wash. -- The Snohomish County Public Utility District has changed plans for a hydroelectric project on the Skykomish River near Index.
The utility has dropped plans for a dam or barrier to divert water.
The "no dam" alternative announced Tuesday would tap a deep pool of water and send it through a half-mile underground tunnel to the powerhouse.
The Everett-based utility says the new design would be cheaper and leave sufficient water in the river for fish, recreation and aesthetics.
The earlier proposal for an inflatable dam or weir near Sunset Falls and Canyon Falls was opposed by environmental groups who said the scenic free-flowing river should be preserved.
The Sierra Club, American Rivers, and The Mountaineers organized a group called Save The Skykomish River.