wanapum dam

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Dramatically lowered water behind the damaged Wanapum Dam in Eastern Washington means boaters are out of luck this Memorial Day on that stretch of the Columbia River. Those folks who own vacation homes upstream from Wanapum at Sunland Estates, say they are getting creative for the long weekend.

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.

Anna King

Officials in central Washington revealed the latest update on how much it will cost to fix the massive crack in Wanapum Dam and how long it will take. It's all bad news.

Anna King Northwest News Network

 The drawdown of water behind the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is exposing dozens of human gravesites and hundreds of Native American cultural artifacts. Grant County officials are working overtime to protect these sensitive sites. Correspondent Anna King explains that work isn’t cheap.

Grant County PUD


Grant County officials said Wednesday they won’t nail down the cause of the crack on Wanapum Dam until June. It all means water levels on the Columbia River will stay lowered. That leaves boat launches, resort communities and popular parks high and dry. And as Correspondent Anna King reports, new details show the cause of the crack won’t be a simple fix.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Fresh displays of fringed bikinis are hitting department stores across the nation, a clear signal summer is on its way. But for one resort community in central Washington this summer could be a bust. A crack in the Wanapum Dam has forced operators to draw down the Columbia River more than 25 feet. That’s left boat docks hundreds of feet from the water.

Grant County PUD

High winds on the Columbia River are hampering forensic work on the damaged Wanapum Dam in southeast Washington.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

This week two skeletons found upstream of the cracked Wanapum Dam were handed over to Northwest tribes. The remains were found near each other several weeks ago along the newly exposed Columbia River shore.

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. 

Anna King

And now an update on the cracked Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River in Eastern Washington.  Dam engineers are continuing to keep the pool behind the ailing structure drawn down to relieve pressure.  So far they don’t know how bad the crack in the dam’s spillway is, but they are still investigating.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


The ongoing issue with the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is now creating problems for migrating salmon. The drawdown of water between the Wanapum and the Rock Island dams to relieve pressure on the crack is the roadblock. Correspondent Anna King explains.

Women farmers met this weekend in Vancouver, WA, Idaho Falls, ID and Corvallis, OR to share strategies for managing their land. Amelia Templeton reports Washington State University organized a video conference in a dozen cities across the Northwest to help women farmers connect.

According to the latest census data, women make up about 20 percent of farm operators in Oregon and Washington and just 12 percent in Idaho. Their numbers have fallen since the 2007 census.

Lorrie Conway grew up on a farm. Now she runs a small goat dairy in Camas, WA.


In central Washington, state officials and farmers alike are scrambling to save orchards at risk of drying up because of a drawdown of the Columbia River. Wanapum Dam has a major crack. Nearly 100 worried irrigators packed an informational meeting in Wenatchee Thursday night.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

State officials are reporting Thursday the discovery of a second set of human remains near the cracked Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River.   More than 50 years ago, the Wanapum Dam’s pool cloaked scores of culturally significant sites, petroglyphs and graves deep under water.

But now these important Native Americans artifacts and remains have been uncovered with the drawdown of the river water behind the damaged dam. Protecting wide expanses of river shore is taxing a small band of Native Americans and county and state guards.

Thousands of acres of high-value cherry and apple orchards behind the damaged Wanapum Dam are at serious risk.

Grant County officials and Native Americans are patrolling round the clock to keep sacred and sensitive sites protected on miles of exposed Columbia River shoreline.

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. 

Anna King

Now to central Washington. A situation on the Columbia River is rapidly unfolding with the damaged Wanapum Dam near Vantage, Washington. Teams of engineers are scrambling to figure out what’s gone wrong with part of Wanapum’s spillway structure.

In Central Washington, human bones have been found along the newly exposed shore above Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River late Tuesday. Grant County PUD officials are drawing down the pool above Wanapum because of a crack found in the structure. 

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

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.