News: Dam Removal

States, federal agencies will seek removal of Klamath dams

By Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press
Seattle Times

Oregon, California, the federal government and others have agreed to go forward with a plan to remove four hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest without approval from a reluctant Congress, a spokesman for dam owner PacifiCorp said Monday.

The dam removal is part of an announcement planned Wednesday in Klamath, Calif., by the governors of both states and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Read more

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Elwah River roaring back to life

By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times

The Elwha watershed is booming with new life, after the world’s largest dam removal.

The first concrete went flying in September 2011, and Elwha Dam was out the following March. Glines Canyon Dam upriver tumbled for good in September 2014. Today the river roars through the tight rock canyon once plugged by Elwha Dam, and surges past the bald, rocky hill where the powerhouse stood. The hum of the generators is replaced by the river singing in full voice, shrugging off a century of confinement like it never happened. Nature’s resurgence is visible everywhere. Read more

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Critics of Snake River dams say it’s time to tear them down

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, The Associated Press
Yakima Press

SPOKANE — The issue of breaching four giant dams on the Snake River to help endangered salmon runs has percolated in the Northwest for decades, but the idea has gained new momentum.

After renewed political pressure to remove the dams, people who oppose the structures gathered Oct. 3 on the Snake River in up to 200 boats. They unfurled a giant banner that said, “Free The Snake.”

“The groundswell that is occurring right now to remove the four dams is like nothing I’ve seen since 1998,” said Sam Mace, director of an anti-dam group called Save Our Wild Salmon. Read more

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Boeing 737 factory to move to clean energy

By Phuong Le, The Associated Press
Yakima Herald

Boeing said Tuesday it plans to buy renewable energy credits to replace fossil-fuel power at the factory where it assembles its 737 commercial airplanes.

The aerospace company and the utility, Puget Sound Energy, said the plan will move the Renton factory near Seattle toward an all-renewable energy mix. Read more

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As dams fall, Elwha River makes stunning recovery

By: Phuong Le
The Spokesman-Review

The final chunks of concrete are expected to fall this September in the nation’s largest dam-removal project, but nature already is reclaiming the Elwha River on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

So much sediment, once trapped in reservoirs behind two hydroelectric dams, has flowed downstream that it has dramatically reshaped the river’s mouth, replenished eroding beaches and created new habitat for marine creatures not observed there in years.

Meanwhile, Chinook salmon and steelhead have been streaming into stretches of the Elwha River and its tributaries previously blocked by the Elwha Dam, which stood for nearly a century before it came down in 2012.

With the first dam gone, the ocean-migrating fish have been swimming as far upriver as they can. Scientists have observed them at the base of the second 210-foot-tall Glines Canyon Dam about 13 miles upstream, as if they want to continue on. Read more

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Elwha dam removal hostage to water plant repairs

By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times

Elwha dam removal is hostage to repairs at water-treatment facilities built as part of the $325 million federal river-restoration project.

The National Park Service, which is leading the dam-removal project, has hired a contractor for the repairs, and said work on taking down the last third of Glines Canyon Dam will resume July 1. The agency predicts work will be complete well before the contract to remove the dams ends in September 2014.

But it could be a much longer wait. Contractors don’t yet have a proven fix for the problems bedeviling the project since last October. And even if they fix the problems by July, some experts say dam removal will likely remain on hold until next year. Read more

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Federal report says removing 4 dams on Klamath River will boost salmon

By Associated Press
The Oregonian

GRANTS PASS — A federal report says removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California and restoring ecosystems will produce a big increase in salmon harvests and boost farm revenues.

The 400-page report was produced by federal scientists to help the Secretary of Interior evaluate whether it is in the public interest to go ahead with the $1 billion project, which is considered the biggest dam removal in U.S. history if it goes through as planned in 2020. Read more

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The Elwha River transformed already

By Linda Mapes
The Seattle Times

Have you looked at the web cams on the Elwha River lately? Have a look at this: the Elwha River, without the powerhouse, surge tank or transmission lines. The remake of the landscape is already incredible, just a few months in to dam removal.

As of mid-December, the transmission lines were gone, and now the powerhouse, a signature monument to the river’s use for hydropower for nearly 100 years, is history, too. The surge tank is toppled, and has been hauled away in hunks. Much of of the material will be re-used or recycled, according to the park service. Read more

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Demolition Of Washington’s Condit Dam Nearing Completion

By Northwest News Network

Federal regulators have granted a short extension to complete the removal of Condit Dam on southwest Washington’s White Salmon River. Originally, demolition crews were supposed to be done with the nearly year-long project by Friday.

The hydropower dam’s owner asked for and received a two week extension from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Portland-based utility PacifiCorp now has until Sept 15th to take out the last bits of what was once 125-foot tall Condit Dam.

Utility spokesman Tom Gauntt says the dam is all gone except for some stubborn footings and an arch. Read more.

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Elwha River back in its natural channel; first time in a century

By Linda V. Mapes
Seattle Times

At 7:30 Friday morning, contractors started shifting the Elwha River back into its natural channel. Within four to five days, the river will be fully back in its native channel — for the first time in a century.

Within four to five weeks, the final draw down of Lake Aldwell, the reservoir behind Elwha Dam, will also be complete — and the dam, and its reservoir, will be history.

Contractors began taking down two dams on the Elwha River last September to restore the river and watershed.The restoration project is way ahead of schedule.

The two dams generated hydropower for the industrialization of the Olympic Peninsula, particularly the development of lumber, pulp, and paper mills. But the dams were built without fish passage. Read more

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