Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tribes talk salmon, dams as Columbia River Treaty renewal looms

By: Becky Kramer The Spokesman-Review

Northwest tribes and their Canadian counterparts are meeting in Spokane this week to discuss engineering solutions for getting salmon over Grand Coulee Dam.

Returning chinook, sockeye and steelhead to the upper Columbia River is a long-standing dream for indigenous people on both sides of the border. When the 550-foot-tall dam began operation in 1942 without fish ladders, it cut off access to hundreds of miles of upstream habitat, delivering the final blow to a fishery already weakened by overharvest on the lower river.

“We all know that our biggest challenge is Grand Coulee, because it’s such a big dam,” said Paul Lumley, executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in Portland. Read more

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Murky outlook at Wanapum Dam

By: Kate Prengaman
Yakima Herald-Republic

VANTAGE — The boat ramp stretches out into mud, mud and more mud. Nearly 100 feet of mud now stands between the launch at Wanapum Recreational Area and the water.

That’s what a 26-foot drop in this stretch of the Columbia River looks like — dead-end docks, drying and dying mussels, newly exposed sandbars and a couple stranded boats tied up below the Interstate 90 bridge. Farther upriver, the low water revealed what authorities suspect are human bones.

It has been a half-century since the water was this low. That was 1964, the year the Wanapum Dam began full hydropower operations.

Now, long-submerged shorelines are again visible because the Grant County Public Utility District has dropped water levels to relieve pressure from a recently discovered crack in one of the dam’s 12 spillways. Read more

Posted in Hydropower, Northwest Hydropower News | Comments Off on Murky outlook at Wanapum Dam