Columbia River

‘Salmon Camp’ Helps Students Connect With Nature

Sep 2, 2016
Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

  Pulling on a dry suit isn’t easy, even if it is several sizes too big.

“Can you pull your socks up around your jeans?” fish biologist Jens Lovtang asks a camper.

“Ah, I better not get my Batman socks wet,” the camper responds.

Every five years, a team convenes to evaluate long-term water supply and demand for the Columbia River Basin. For eastern Washington, the water supply will increase, but not when demand is highest.

Ken Lund / Flickr

Groundwater in parts of the Columbia River Basin is declining. That’s one result from an analysis of long-term water supply and demand in Eastern Washington.

Dr. Ron Hardy, University of Idaho Aquaculture Research Institute / Northwest News Network

They’re billed as vegan rainbow trout, but their new menu, developed by the University of Idaho’s Director of Aquaculture Research, Ron Hardy includes a little fish oil. So more accurately, you might call these fish pescatarians.


A new report finds an oil tanker grounding on the Columbia River could cost more than $170 million dollars in damages. Estimates show the oil tanker could spill 8 million gallons of Bakken crude oil.

Thanks to a wet winter, the Bonneville Power Administration says this will be a “normal” water year for the northwest. That’s an improvement over last year.

Updated -- Officials with the Grant County Public Utility District say an electrical equipment failure is to blame for an explosion at Priest Rapids Dam Thursday that injured six workers, two critically.

Killing Cormorants To Save Salmon On The Columbia

Aug 26, 2015
Jan Arendtsz / Flickr

This summer, government officials have killed about 150 cormorants nesting on an island in the Columbia River. They're using rifles with silencers under the cover of night. It's part of a plan that aims to protect salmon from these avian predators. Scientists say the birds are eating up to 18 percent of juvenile salmon. But opponents argue killing the birds won't actually help the fish. Cassandra Profita went onto the river to find out more.

Fires continue to burn around Lake Chelan in central Washington Monday. Nearly 3,000 residents have been evacuated so far and dozens of homes have burned as firefighters struggle to gain any control over the blaze.


The legal battle over maintaining dams and salmon in the Columbia River is back in court this week. On Tuesday, a new judge will hear arguments on the Obama administration's latest salmon protection plan.

An audacious proposal to revive the Columbia River’s historic Celilo Falls drew heavy flak when it was aired at the Oregon Legislature Thursday.

Wikimedia Commons

Chances are your utility bill has gone up this year. One small part of the reason may be that you’re paying for electricity that was never generated. From Jefferson Public Radio, Liam Moriarty takes a look at how Northwest electricity customers got saddled with more than $2.5 million in payments for power they didn’t use.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A little-known fact about Columbia River dams is that a valuable chunk of the power generated on the U.S. side goes to Canada under an international treaty. Northwest utilities say your power rates would be lower if that electricity could be sold to California instead of being delivered to Canada for free. This week in Spokane, the biggest players in the trans-national river basin are debating whether to extend that 50-year-old treaty.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Fisheries experts say the return of Chinook salmon to the Columbia River may not quite break records this fall as expected. Last year’s run was a record: nearly 1.3 million strong. But future years may not bring these kinds of mighty schools.

Oregon Approves Subsidy For Oil Transport, Not Coal

Aug 22, 2014
McD22 / Flickr

The Oregon Transportation Commission voted Friday to deny funding for controversial coal exports but approved subsidies that will allow more oil trains to travel along the Columbia River.

Oregon To Decide On Controversial Coal Export Dock Permit

Aug 15, 2014
Shawn Kinkade / Flickr

Oregon regulators plan to make a critical decision today. They're deciding whether to deny a permit for a coal export dock in Boardman to preserve tribal fishing on the Columbia River.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

It’s back to court for the federal government and salmon advocates. Fish supporters Tuesday once again challenged the government’s plan to manage dams on the Columbia River and protect endangered salmon and steelhead. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Photo courtesy Jay Inslee

Wednesday Governor Jay Inslee was able to get up close to drilling machines on the damaged Wanapum Dam in central Washington. It came out this week that the dam’s massive crack was caused by fundamental design errors and bad concrete pours in 1960. Correspondent Anna King has our story.

Gov. Inslee To Tour Cracked Wanapum Dam

May 14, 2014
Anna King / Northwest News Network

Governor Jay Inslee will get to see the massive problems with central Washington's Wanapum Dam for himself Wednesday. Major design miscalculations and construction flaws are to blame for the dam’s massive crack. Now officials say they’ll be studying other dams on the Columbia River as well.

Grant PUD

A host of problems caused the massive crack in Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River in central Washington. That’s the news out of a Grant County utility district meeting Tuesday.

Officials at five dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers will start killing birds that eat migrating juvenile salmon. They are meant to protect endangered salmon and steelhead as they begin their journey out to sea.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Dozens of central Washington fruit farmers are still high and dry without water for their valuable fruit trees. Many irrigation pipes don’t reach the lowered Columbia River behind the cracked Wanapum Dam.

But it turns out the farmers’ rush for water is now being slowed because of concerns over endangered tiny baby salmon. 

Tom Banse

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, there at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.  Those epic migrations ended in 1938 with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.  This week, tribes from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border along with scientists and policymakers are meeting in Spokane to figure out how Columbia River fish could be restored to their entire historical range. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

British Columbia has staked out a negotiating position on a cross-border water treaty that puts it at odds with public utilities and rate payers in the U.S. Northwest. At issue is whether and how to renew the 50-year-old Columbia River Treaty. 

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Officials in Grant County, Wash., are asking the public to stay away from the shoreline behind the damaged Wanapum Dam. They drew down the level of the reservoir to take pressure off a cracked portion of the spillway. 

Water behind the Wanapum Dam near Vantage, Wash., is being drawn down 26 feet to relieve pressure on the big crack in the structure.

Dam operators are struggling to find a solution for a major underwater crack in the Wanapum Dam. It spans the Columbia River in central Washington near Vantage.

Oregon's state treasurer says he won't approve bonds for a new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River without a guarantee: that Oregon can collect tolls from Washington drivers.

Courtney Flatt

Pacific lamprey numbers are quickly declining throughout Northwestern waters. Tribal elders remember times when the Columbia River was black with the eel-like fish. Now, Northwest researchers are trying to develop a lamprey hatchery – the first of its kind in the world. But, there are challenges ahead.

The American negotiating position became clearer Friday in what promises to be difficult bargaining to update a water treaty with Canada.