Dams

Wind Power
6:43 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Paying Wind Generators Not To Produce Power

The first powerhouse of the Bonneville Dam, 40 miles east of Portland, on the Columbia River.
Credit 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.

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Dam Removal
6:13 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Study: After Dams Are Removed, Rivers Quickly Return To Normal

A file photo of Condit Dam before it was removed.
Credit D. Kvamme PacifiCorp

More dams are being removed from rivers as they get older and no longer produce hydropower. Researchers have found after these dams come down, rivers return to their natural state surprisingly fast.

Over the years lots of sediment backs up behind dams. Ecologists have worried the release of that sediment would harm habitat and cause flooding.

But a study from Oregon State University found that didn’t happen. Researchers studied two rivers in Oregon before and after dams were removed.

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Salmon Cannon
7:04 am
Fri September 26, 2014

A New Technology To Transport Fish: The Salmon Cannon

Washington Deparment of Fish and Wildlife crews load 30-pound fall chinook salmon into the salmon cannon. The cannon sucks the fish up to a truck at 22 miles per hour. The fish will then be driven to a nearby hatchery.
Credit Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

Salmon may soon have a faster way to make it around dams. There’s a new technology that’s helping to transport hatchery fish in Washington. It’s called the salmon cannon — yes, you read that right.

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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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