The Wells Reservoir is approximately 30 miles long. The Methow and Okanogan rivers are tributaries of the Columbia River within the Wells Reservoir. The Wells Project boundary extends 1.5 miles up the Methow River and 15.5 miles up the Okanogan River. The normal maximum surface area of the reservoir is 9,740 acres with a gross storage capacity of 331,200 acre-feet and usable storage of 97,985 acre-feet at elevation 781. Most of the reservoir shoreline is steep with slopes rising 20 to 40 feet above the reservoir. Exceptions include the shoreline in Pateros, in Brewster, at the mouth of Okanogan River, Washburn Island, and the Bridgeport Bar. These shorelines vary between 3 and 10 feet above the reservoir.
The reservoir forms the boundary between Douglas County on the south and east and Okanogan and Chelan counties on the north and west. The reservoir also forms a portion of the western boundary of the Colville Indian Reservation, which lies east of the Okanogan River and north of the Columbia River. This region is sparsely populated. The cities of Pateros (643), Brewster (2,189) and Bridgeport (2,059) are municipalities located along the Wells Reservoir (US Census 2000). The reservoir shoreline is generally owned in fee title by Douglas PUD. Most of the lands upland of the Project boundary are privately owned with tracts of federal and state owned land interspersed. Most of the land surrounding the project is used for agricultural purposes.
Douglas PUD has implemented a Land Use Policy which ensures that non-Project uses of Wells Project Lands are consistent with the FERC license for the Wells Hydroelectric Project. Where not inconsistent with Project purposes, Douglas PUD may issue land use permits to adjacent upland property owners for nonexclusive uses of Project lands, including docks, landscaping and existing agriculture uses. Any ground disturbing activities will require cultural resources review, and may require cultural resources survey and mitigation at the applicant’s expense prior to consideration for approval. Interested parties should review both the application and sample permit to understand the multiple requirements for insurance, and compliance with all federal, state and local laws.