Wildlife Programs

We own and operate four hydropower projects in western Washington. Along with providing you with clean, renewable hydroelectric energy, we also have a responsibility to protect the watersheds where we operate.

Our Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license commitment includes preserving and enhancing wildlife habitat. Protection and management of habitat for native species is the focus of these programs, which involves about 20,000 acres of land around our hydroelectric projects.

These efforts protect healthy habitat for fish, wildlife and native plants, and create outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone to enjoy.

Our wildlife areas are open to the public for low-impact uses including nature watching, hiking, boating, swimming, fishing, hunting, biking and horseback riding (on established trails only).

We are responsible for the management of the following wildlife areas. Most are owned by Tacoma Power and some are managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) with funding from Tacoma Power.

Cowlitz Wildlife Area

The Cowlitz Wildlife Area is one of the largest designated wildlife areas in western Washington. It covers about 14,000 acres of forests, wetlands, lowland valleys, and riparian habitats owned by Tacoma Power and managed by the WDFW. The area is home to a wide variety of birds and animals including deer, elk, wood ducks, osprey, and bald eagles and offers the 20-mile-long Peterman Hill Trail for recreational use.

These areas are open to the public for nature watching, photography, hiking, boating, swimming, fishing, hunting, biking and horseback riding (only on established trails). Part of the area is included in the Great Washington Birding Trail.

Nisqually River Project Wildlife Lands

We protect and enhance 3,500 acres of land for wildlife in the Nisqually River basin. Our enhancement activities include:

  • 100 acres of high-quality forage fields for elk in the upper Nisqually basin
  • More than 40 nesting boxes for wood ducks along the Alder Lake shoreline and downstream of the dams
  • Roosting boxes for bats
  • Nesting structures for osprey
  • Thinning of dense forest so it matures more quickly

We also do the following to protect wildlife and their habitat in the area:

  • Preserve the river corridor downstream of LaGrande Dam
  • Protect and promote the development of mature forest
  • Install visual markers on the power transmission lines so birds avoid them
  • Enforce no-wake zones on Alder Lake to protect waterfowl, eagles, and osprey
Wynoochee River Project Elk Forage Fields

As part of the Wynoochee River Project, we contract with the WDFW to enhance 1,000 acres of high-quality forage area for Roosevelt elk.

Cushman Project Wildlife Lands

More than 2,700 acres of healthy habitat for elk, deer, eagles, osprey, wood ducks, and other wildlife are protected at Tacoma Power’s Cushman Hydro Project. Outdoor recreation is also available in the area. Our management activities include:

  • Installing three nesting platforms for osprey. Two are located on poles at either end of Lake Cushman, and one rests on a tree at Lake Kokanee.
  • Installing and maintaining wood duck boxes and bat roosting boxes.
  • Creating and maintaining elk forage fields.
  • Performing tree thinning for healthier forests and creating snags for nesting.
  • Creating habitat for cavity-nesting birds.