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Bones Exposed By Wanapum Dam Drawdown On Columbia River

Anna King
Northwest News Network
Newly exposed riverbank sprawls out upstream on the Columbia River from Wanapum Dam. Human bones have been found in an area called Crescent Bar.

In Central Washington, human bones have been found along the newly exposed shore above Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River.

Grant County PUD officials are drawing down the pool above Wanapum because of a crack found in the structure.

The bones were discovered in an area called Crescent Bar upriver from Wanapum Dam. Detectives with Grant County say they aren’t sure how long the bones have been there. Officials say it’s possible the bones belong to an early settler, or Native American burial. Members of the Wanapum band of Native Americans that live in the region visited the site after it was discovered.

Grant County officials say they’ll recover the bones carefully for analysis this week.

As for the dam, teams of engineers continue to work out just why the structure cracked on a portion of its spillway. The experts say they have relieved pressure on the dam by drawing down the water behind it. And they say that downstream communities are not at risk.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.