grand coulee dam

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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.”

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Salmon are now swimming in the upper Columbia River for the first time in decades. For tribes, Friday’s ceremonial fish release is a big step toward catching fish in traditional waters.

Cheers erupted from the crowd as the first salmon was released since 1955 into the Columbia River above Chief Joseph Dam.

It was the first of 30 fish released. A truck transported the salmon up and around the dam in northeastern Washington. A chain of people lined up shoulder-to-shoulder. They passed bags filled with one salmon at a time from the truck to the river.

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  It was a wild weekend for wildfire in the Northwest. A cold front brought lightning and high winds -- but no rain -- to the region east of the Cascades already plagued by extremely dry conditions.

 

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

If all goes according to plan, there could soon be salmon above the Grand Coulee Dam again. That’s according to Cody Desautel, director of Natural Resources for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville. 

War Pony Pictures

In the 1940s, construction of the Grand Coulee Dam ended a generations-long tradition among the region’s Native American tribes who had gathered at a nearby waterfall every year. But last year, five tribes revived that tradition.

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.

MrPanyGoff / Wikimedia

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

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.