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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Dams Help The NW Cope With Climate Change

Sep 26, 2013
Doug Wertman

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

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.

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.

Research Helps Design Fish-Friendlier Turbines

Jan 17, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

First Sockeye Reach Idaho's Stanley Basin

Jul 30, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

The first sockeye arrived in Idaho’s Salmon River this week -- That’s later than usual. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

It's a question all of us face sooner or later: whether to spend a good chunk of money to protect against a catastrophe that has a very low chance of occurring. A workshop that just wrapped up in Corvallis considered that dilemma in the context of Northwest dams and a magnitude 9 earthquake. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Lonesome Larry Hits 20-Year Anniversary

Jul 19, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / Northwest News Network

This year is the twenty year anniversary of Lonesome Larry, a lone sockeye salmon that made the 800 mile trip from the ocean to Redfish Lake in central Idaho. It helped jump start a multi-billion dollar effort to save Snake River salmon from certain extinction. Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

A California American Indian tribe Tuesday asked federal regulators to order the removal of four dams on the Klamath River. The tribe says a restoration plan for the river is stalled. Amelia Templeton reports.

Photo Credit: United States Bureau of Reclamation

GRAND COULEE DAM, Wash. -- Federal water and dam managers are draining reservoirs in the Columbia and Snake River basins to get ready for "big water" coursing downriver. In recent weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has called for bigger drawdowns, or as the agency calls it "drafting", to protect against flooding. Supervisory engineer Peter Brooks says more room is needed to catch runoff from the bountiful snows of March.

Wind Energy Turbines / Photo credit: Wikimedia user AnnawJjacobs/ Wikimedia Commons

The Bonneville Power Administration has offered a solution for its dispute with wind energy producers. As Rob Manning reports, BPA's offer of compensation is not appeasing wind developers.