Dams

Columbia Dams and Salmon
5:56 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Tribes Optimistic About Returning Salmon to Upper Columbia Basin

An aerial view of Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River, the border between Oregon and Idaho.
Credit MrPanyGoff / Wikimedia Commons

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades. Tribal leaders from across the region gathered for the past two days in Portland to strategize how to return salmon to their full historic range.

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Wanapum Dam
4:03 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Wanapum Dam Stabilizes With Drawdown, Engineers Say

Near rhe top of this image of Wanapum Dam, a slight bend is noticeable in the conduit below the guardrail. This is the anomaly spotted by a Grant PUD employee that resulted in discovery of the crack.
Grant County PUD

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 2:59 pm

As of Tuesday engineers say the Wanapum Dam’s major crack is stabilizing with the drawdown of the pool behind it.

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Climate Change Study
6:23 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Dams Help The NW Cope With Climate Change

The dams give water managers the ability to hold water in reservoirs so it is available when farmers and migrating salmon need it the most.
Credit Doug Wertman

A new study suggests Columbia River dams are helping the Northwest cope with climate change.

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Columbia Dams and Salmon
5:55 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Feds Say Dams Are Working Fine For Columbia Salmon

Not much would change for dam operations on the Columbia River under the federal government’s new draft plan for protecting endangered salmon and steelhead.
Credit USFWS Pacific Southwest Region

Not much would change for dam operations on the Columbia River under the federal government’s new draft plan for protecting endangered salmon and steelhead.

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Elwha Dam Removal
6:00 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Sediment Woes For Port Angeles Water Treatment Facility Put Elwha Dam Removal On Hold

A sediment plume is visible at the mouth of the Elwha River, where it meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Credit Tom Roorda / National Park Service website

The largest dam removal in history is on hold. Dam removal on the Elwha River has been temporarily halted because massive amounts of sediment released from above the dams have clogged one of the city’s water treatment facilities.

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Dam Turbines
6:17 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Research Helps Design Fish-Friendlier Turbines

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researcher John Stephenson observes the pressure tanks. Researchers are using chambers to figure out how improve fish survival rates
Credit Photo courtesy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

When salmon swim through dam turbines, the changes in pressure can be catastrophic to their bodies. Researchers are trying to figure out how improve fish survival rates. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is paying attention. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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Klamath River Deal
5:31 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Farmers and Tribes Extend Klamath Restoration Deal For Two More Years

Farmers and tribes have voted to extend a restoration deal that could lead to the removal of four dams on the Klamath River. The deal was set to expire today.

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Klamath Water Rights
6:13 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Klamath Tribes and Farmers Consider Extending Water Agreement

A major water rights agreement in the Klamath Basin is set to expire in December 31st. Amelia Templeton from our EarthFix team reports that farmers, tribes, and power company PacifiCorp are getting behind an extension.

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Dam Removal
6:37 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Rep. Hastings Questions Panel on Dams, Hydropower

A Washington congressmen returned to his hometown Wednesday to promote a bill protecting hydropower dams from removal. Courtney Flatt of EarthFix reports from Pasco, Washington.

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Earthquake Risk
5:54 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Earthquake Study Raises Risk Potential Around Central Washington Dams

Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Central Washington was considered at low risk for earthquakes back when big hydropower dams went up on the Columbia River many decades ago. But a recently completed seismic hazard assessment has found greater earthquake potential for the area than previously thought. Now the dam owners have to figure out how to respond. Seismic retrofits could cost ratepayers across the region hundreds of millions of dollars. Correspondent Tom Banse has this exclusive report.

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