Freeing the White Salmon River

by jhwygirl

Some good news from out near Hood River.

Yesterday the Condit dam was breeched by PacifiCorp, freeing the river for the famous Pacific Northwest steelhead and chinook fisheries.

There’s some pretty dramatic footage of the breech to be found around the innertubes – I’ll offer this video from The Oregonian:

Pretty impressive, huh?

The University of Montana Geomorphology Lab were there for the scene – but instead of watching the dynamite do its deed, the went to watch the rebirth of the White Salmon River. Here is a 2-hour time lapse of the White Salmon’s rebirth – and the draining of lake:

Somewhere I read this morning that it had been estimated it would take 6 hours to drain.

UM student Josh Epstein was there in the group, and he has 3 videos posted. Here’s One, Two, and Three.

Fascinating. The Condit dam is the second tallest dam to be removed in the U.S. The Seattle Times had a great piece today reporting on some of the history of the dam.

BPA, for its part, had to say goodbye to the Condit, which was able to generate power about 7,000 homes in the northwest.

While hydropower seems to be their predominate source for power, it appears BPA (Bonneville Power Administration) is relying more and more on wind and biomass. This map shows their power generation locations and sources.

I tried to look for a similar resource at Northwestern Energy, but couldn’t find one.

Free the sturgeon of the Kootanai

  1. You rock, j-girl! Rewild the West! President Obama: dismantle the main stem dams and free the Missouri River now!

    • On a fluke, found the story on the largest dam removal story – the one referenced above.

      There’s a link in there for a webcam.

      One of the other things to come out of that is economic development – think of the jobs created by the restoration of those stream channels.

      Then there’s the replacement energy that (in this case) BPA had to find. Cleaner….sustainable…and more efficient.

      A win-win situation.

      I hope I live to see the day the sturgeon of the Kootenai are freed.

      • Matthew Koehler

        One of the really neat aspects of the September 2011 damn removal ceremony on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park was friend Dana Lyons getting to sing his inspirational, activist song “Drop of Water” literally as the damn was being breached. Never really thought that damn would come down, and certainly never thought one of the Earth First! movement’s talented musicians would be on the official government stage for the final moments of the ceremony belting out such an EF! activist classic! Dana’s even accompanied by a choir of high school kids from Port Angeles. I still can’t watch this with dry eyes. The clip starts slow, music starts at 2 minutes. The River is Free!

  2. mr benson

    I’m gonna have an opportunity to use the phrase, “freeing the white salmon” sometime in the future.

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