Northwest Hydropower News

Columbia Basin breaking records for returning fall chinook salmon

By George Plaven
Seattle Times

PENDLETON, Ore. — The Columbia Basin’s 2015 salmon season is the second-strongest year since the federal dams were built nearly 80 years ago.

A record number of fall chinook salmon returned up the Columbia River past McNary Dam in 2015, continuing on to spawning grounds at Hanford Reach, the Snake River and Yakima Basin.

More than 456,000 of the fish were counted at McNary Dam, breaking the facility’s previous record of 454,991 set in 2013. An estimated 200,000 fall chinook made it back to Hanford Reach, the most since hydroelectric dams were first built on the Columbia nearly 80 years ago. Read more

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New visitor center opens at Wanapum Dam

By Staff
Tri City Herald

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EWEB commits up to $750,000 to land trust hoping to manage 260 forested acres along McKenzie River

The Eugene Water & Electric Board voted unanimously Monday to commit up to $750,000 toward the restoration and future management of 260 forested acres along both sides of the McKenzie River that a local land trust is seeking to purchase.

EWEB commissioners said the funding to the McKenzie River Trust would be a wise investment as it protects water quality on the waterway — the utility’s sole source of drinking water — and potentially could help reduce its costs to secure a new operating license for its largest hydroelectric generation project farther upriver. Read more

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Let region renegotiate Columbia River Treaty

By Steve Wright and Matthew Rooney
Spokesman Review

The Columbia River Treaty has been one of the most successful international agreements ever, partly due to the leading role played by regional entities on both sides of the border in its management. It has produced billions of dollars of benefit for American and Canadian residents of the Pacific Northwest, and showed the world how a cross-border river basin could be managed to benefit two countries.

But circumstances have changed, and it is time to modernize the treaty. Renegotiation should begin now, and the United States should not hesitate to provide notice of intent to terminate the applicable treaty provisions to ensure a serious negotiation. Read more

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Electricity project gets boost from Chinese company

By Staff
Spokesman Review

YAKIMA, Wash. – Plans for a proposed $2.5 billion reservoir system to generate power south of Goldendale have found an unlikely partner: a Chinese hydropower company.

The project is billed as a large-scale energy storage facility that could help utilities across the Northwest and California get the most value out of the growing supply of wind and solar power. Read more

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Feds Release Plan For Recovering Snake River Salmon

By Staff
Herald and News

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a draft plan Monday for recovering threatened Snake River fall chinook salmon – fish that have to pass eight Columbia and Snake River dams to reach their spawning grounds.In the past, nearly a half million of these fish returned to the Snake River each year. But with overfishing, dam construction and habitat loss, those numbers dropped to just a few hundred by 1992, when the fish were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Read more

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Helena irrigation district looks to produce hydropower

By Associated Press
Seattle Post Intelligencer

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Helena Valley Irrigation District is looking to retrofit its existing pump plant at Canyon Ferry Dam to produce hydropower. 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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Yahoo will double size of Quincy operation

By Staff
Spokesman Review

QUINCY – Size matters, right? Just ask Yahoo! Inc., which is about to double the size of its Quincy data center.

Yahoo said Monday it will add about 300,000 square feet and thousands of servers to its 8-year-old Quincy facility. The expansion will double the size of the company’s operation at the junction of Road P NW and Road 11 NW and add an unspecified number of jobs, the company said in a news release. Currently Yahoo in Quincy has 50 employees.

The tech company is expected to break ground this week on 20 acres next to the current facility with a May opening expected for the expansion.

Yahoo will use its energy-efficient “coop” design for the data center expansion, said Pat Boss, spokesman for the Port of Quincy. Resembling a chicken coop, the design uses prefabricated metal boxes with built-in louvers to increase the use of outside air for cooling and reduce the need for electrical fans to pull air into the building. The coop design also speeds construction. Read more

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Community Outreach at Okanogan County Fair

The Okanogan complex fire, with injuries, loss of property and thousands of acres burned land, hit our friends in Okanogan County hard. Showing spirit synonymous with resilience to this largely rural area, the county fair was postponed but not canceled. FWEE was proud to be on hand to engage with kids and adults to learn about renewable energy. Check out a couple of pics.

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