columbia river

Wally Miller / Flickr

If you live at the foot of a dam – or downriver – you may wonder what could happen if an earthquake rumbled nearby. Dam managers say it’s something they’re constantly watching, but major shaking east of the Cascades shouldn’t cause too much damage.

“We are concerned (about earthquakes), but we’re not concerned from an overall public safety standpoint,” said Bill Christman, Chelan County PUD’s chief dam safety engineer. “The dams on the Columbia River are naturally constructed to resist a big volume of water through just their own weight.”

Timothy Lawes

Cormorants by the thousands have taken up residence under the landmark Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River. Their poop can corrode the bridge and that is unacceptable to the Oregon and Washington transportation departments. But what actions to take against the protected birds and whose responsibility that is are up in the air.

Maya Lin Studio

A large public art project proposed to be built beside the now-inundated great falls of the Columbia River has been put on indefinite hold by its sponsor.

The installation was planned for Celilo Falls — east of The Dalles, Oregon — as the sixth and final outdoor artwork in a series by celebrated designer Maya Lin along the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Grant County PUD

Crews have finished drilling around 230 core samples in Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River in central Washington state.

Kelownian Pilot - tinyurl.com/ydf7l9x2

The first round of talks to modernize the U.S.-Canada Columbia River Treaty took place this week. Officials from the U.S. negotiating team briefed reporters on Thursday on progress at the talks, which are aimed at revising the 54-year-old agreement which governs hydropower and flood control along the Columbia River. 

Grant Public Utility District

Crews are drilling deep into southeast Washington's Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River to find out the extent of damage after leaks were recently discovered. 

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Federal officials were in Spokane Wednesday night to talk about the future of the Columbia River Treaty, an agreement between the U.S. and Canada that dates back to 1964. It governs hydropower and flood control measures along the upper reaches of the 1,200 mile Columbia River.

Grant County PUD

Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River in southeast Washington state has multiple leaks and structural problems.

The dam is made up of large sections of concrete and steel bound together by 50-foot-long layers of grout. Now, at least four sections of the grout are failing and causing leaks.

Grant PUD

In Central Washington, Grant Public Utility District officials have declared what they’re calling a “non-failure emergency” at the 1950’s-era Priest Rapids Dam northwest of Richland. 

Crews discovered leaking in the dam’s spillway structure when they were drilling inspection holes.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife - tinyurl.com/y76efhuu

A Native American man has been sentenced to four months in jail and he’ll have to pay more than $1,000 in fines for illegally catching and selling chinook salmon and sturgeon in Washington state.

Jack Williams / OSU Special Collections & Archives/ Flickr - tinyurl.com/yd2ala3k

The White House is blocking money to build new tribal housing along the Columbia River. That’s according to five members of the Washington and Oregon congressional delegations.

Washington Department of Ecology

Over the weekend a large diesel spill developed on the Columbia River near downtown Wenatchee, Washington. So far state officials haven’t been able to locate the source of the spill.

NOAA

The summer’s early snowmelt, record temperatures and drought in the Northwest killed young hatchery fish and adult fish returning to spawn. And federal experts are expecting 2016 to be even worse for fish.

US Army Corps of Engineers

An audacious proposal to revive the Columbia River’s historic Celilo Falls drew heavy flak when it was aired at the Oregon Legislature Thursday.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

It's been 75 years since salmon and steelhead last swam into the upper reaches of the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A little-known fact about Columbia River dams is that a valuable chunk of the power generated on the U.S. side goes to Canada under an international treaty.

Grant PUD

An extensive investigation by the Grant County utility district revealed Tuesday that a host of problems caused the massive crack in Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River in central Washington.

MrPanyGoff / Wikimedia

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Dam engineers are continuing to keep the pool behind the ailing structure drawn down to relieve pressure.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

British Columbia has staked out a negotiating position on a cross-border water treaty that puts it at odds with public utilities and ratepayers in the U.S. Northwest.

Gregg M. Erickson / Wikimedia

The American negotiating position became clearer Friday in what promises to be difficult bargaining to update a water treaty with Canada.

US Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. senators from the Northwest say it is time "to strike a better bargain" with Canada over hydropower generated along the shared Columbia River.

US Army Corps of Engineers

New advisories from health officials in Washington and Oregon warn that some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Two federal agencies are recommending that a 50-year-old treaty between the U.S. and Canada be renegotiated to give Northwest electricity ratepayers and salmon a better deal.

Washington Department of Ecoology. An oil-containment boom and oil-absorbing pads are deployed around the Granby.

A spill cleanup crew remains on the scene Thursday near Longview where an old wooden boat sunk in a side channel of the Columbia River.

Historic Site, Cave Art Delay Transmission Line

Aug 1, 2013
Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Northwest history is colliding with the need to upgrade the region’s electric transmission grid. It’s happening on a windblown patch of riverfront property at the east end of the Columbia River Gorge.

The Bonneville Power Administration is trying to build a new transmission line across that land. But conflicts over historical preservation have increased the cost of the project to $185 million and stalled progress for more than a year. Colin Fogarty begins our story in Wishram, Washington.

Hanford.gov

Federal officials are trying to figure out what to do about radioactive materials that remain at a place near the Columbia River known as the 300 Area. It’s the subject of a series of public meetings that kick off this week.

The 300 Area was where workers milled uranium rods and tested ways to process plutonium during WWII and the Cold War. They poured about 2 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste a day into sandy ponds and trenches right next to the Columbia River. Cleaning up buildings and material there has kept crews busy for 20 years.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation say crews have cleaned up 15 million tons of radioactive soil and debris from near the Columbia River. It’s gone to a massive dump at the center of the site.

In central Hanford, a ceremonial load of soil marked 15 million tons of waste disposed of at the 52-football-field-sized dump called ERDF. Dozens of truck horns blared in response.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Here's a little known fact that may affect your power bill: Every year, public utilities in the Northwest give British Columbia several hundred million dollars worth of electricity. That's to compensate Canada for managing the upper Columbia River to minimize flooding and maximize hydropower downstream.

Americans are pushing for a better deal, but the B.C. government is preparing to defend what's now considered an entitlement.

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