Wanapum Dam in Trouble???

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by cmann886, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. how did OMJ's butt get into this conversation?
    sorry - couldn't help it.
    carry on
    Kent Lufkin and Ed Call like this.
  2. I recall there was a power company back on the east coast that had rates in the top 5 but don't recall who or what source of energy it was. Grant has been historically very low, within the top 2 until their relicensing came up a few years ago and there was a lot of money spent on that endeavor. Douglas with their lone dam at Wells is always right up their with the least expensive rates in the country.

    By reducing flows, the crack has decreased, which is good news but it remains a very serious issue. Plans for adult and juvenile passage are being presented and evaluated. I got a call today from a person asking about mussel relocation efforts. I told her I'd love to help but was too busy keeping my finger in the crack, helping to plug the hole. :D

    Regarding Sg's comments about selling boats for high water emergency use, I was thinking the exact opposite today while driving by and looking at all the people wandering around. With all the boat launches essentially useless to larger craft, a light weight pontoon boat would be perfect to drag out.
  3. "By reducing flows, the crack has decreased, which is good news but it remains a very serious issue."

    ..so the dam is actively flexing with pressure?

    I think my confidence level just dropped..
    Freestone likes this.

  4. So I take it you don't want to run down there and fish some pre-spawn bass?
    Freestone likes this.

  5. I assume there is a nest of reenforcing steel inside the concrete. Perhaps the crack is large enough that that mesh of steel is holding things together, but flexing under the pressure?

    In any event, I think the movement it probably not a very good thing. Assuming there has probably been water infiltration for some time prior to the discovery of this crack (crack there, nobody saw it), the reenforcing steel could be be in bad shape.
  6. I figured something like this would occur.http://www.krem.com/home/248470431.html
    They found a lot of discarded pistols, probably used during the commission of a crime, in banks lake when they drew it down. This one seems old, but they'll probably find others. Some bad people might be a little nervous right now.
  7. Wow, those photos really help one to understand what's going on. Thanks.

  8. I'm good to go! If she (no offense ladies) fails maybe Grant County will put my name on a plaque as the fool who tempted fate:D Generally early season I fish below the gap quite a ways. There's nothing worth fishing before May above the Priest Rapids Wildlife Area.​

    For me I am more interested in the levels below Wanapum Dam but it certainly makes above the dam even more interesting. I have a good sense of the river below Vantage to the dam which was not an easy read for lees experienced anglers. Who knows how this changes things upriver.

    I'll run down and wrap my head around the situation this weekend. Normally one can start after bass the end of March or first week of April. My gut feeling is the situation will significantly change how this plays out. If the shallow bays that warm up first and don't circulated water like the main stem are high and dry(almost all will be) things will be delayed, probably delayed significantly. The bays with some areas of greater depth will be subject to flushing under this scenario and that won't work for early spawning. If they hold current levels I suspect we'll see far more bass spawning as late as July or even early August depending how run-off plays out.

    In a way this is exciting as it completely changes the game and after decades of the same game this will be something new. It also means far less real estate and that could play in my favor, especially after spawn. I suspect there will be far less boats on the river too. I'd consider buying a new lighter boater boat I could drag, or carry but first I need to see what I'm up against and give GC PUD a chance to sort out their strategy regarding levels for the season. Hard to imagine a quick fix with spring flows coming up in 6 weeks or so.

    Looking at the photo there is some logic to the location of the problem.

    I'd add this might make chasing salmon of the fly a more sane prospect.
  9. I guess I like to cut through all the B.S. and get to the heart of the matter.

    we built too much in the flood plane of a major river system expecting such areas to never flood is absolutely absurd.

    we cannot control the river indefinitely it may not be in our life time or the next few generations but the Columbia WILL do as it pleases with our dams it's just a matter of time.
    Tyler Sadowski likes this.
  10. Just to put things in perspective, Mother Nature and Earth's forces can have their way with all structures & infrastructures that man has built in due time.
    constructeur likes this.
  11. Just heard on NPR news (radio) that the PUD announced that they "owned" the river banks and sandbars exposed by the water being lowered, and has placed signs up to keep anyone from "trespassing" onto them. They reported that "authorities" would be called if anyone was caught doing that.
    Before the dam was there we used to be able to walk along the riverbank on occasion and throw rocks in the river and find the occasional arrowhead.
    Maybe the reporter had it wrong - or perhaps the laws have changed regarding access to the mighty Columbia R. since the 1950's when we did that as kids.
    Anyone here know?
  12. The original riverbed is still owned by the state, but utilities normally buy the uplands that are inundated by reservoirs if they are privately owned. If the uplands are public land, then the utility obtains a special use permit and pays "rent" to the state or federal government.

    Posting it against trespassing is the prudent safety measure for Grant. Imagine, some idiot goes out there walking around, slips and falls in the mud, strikes his head on a rock, and dies. A deep pocket lawsuit against the PUD gets filed the next day.

  13. It's without question a navigable river and therefore the land under and along it up to the normal high water mark is NOT owned by the state it is held in trust by the state, held in trust for use by the public.
  14. So… what will I have to do? Launch my boat via helicopter?
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  15. I wonder if because they are considered reservoirs(which technically are lakes) the navigable rule still applies? It is the Columbia River, perhaps the second most navigable river in the U.S., but because it's broken down into lake sections the government/utilities can deny access? Something to look into, I guess. When they drew Banks Lake way down, I know that NPS denied access, on foot to the lake bed. I questioned their authority on that, but can't be argued as being a river either.
  16. WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - The big drawdown of the reservoir behind Wanapum Dam has stabilized a cracked spillway there, but it's coming at the cost of lost power generation.

    Wanapum Dam has the ability to generate some 700 megawatts this time of year. The drawdown, which dropped the level of the reservoir by 26 feet, has reduced generation to 360 megawatts.

    The Wenatchee World reports that no financial-impact estimates were immediately available from the Grant County Public Utility District, owner of the Columbia River dam.

    But the Chelan County PUD, owner and operator of the two dams immediately upriver of Wanapum, has had to stop all power generation at its Rock Island Dam. That means power with an estimated daily market value of more than $400,000 is no longer being generated there.

    Chelan County PUD's long-term contracts with its power purchasers - and the ability to increase generation at its Rocky Reach Dam - limit the financial hit to the utility.

    "We'll forego some revenue on the open market," Mark O'Bryan, financial planning director at Chelan PUD, said, "but it doesn't appear it will stress our financial conditions to the point we need to look at rates."

    Chelan PUD General Manager Steve Wright said restoring generation at Rock Island Dam and devising a plan to get migrating fish past the dam are now the utility's two biggest priorities. PUD engineers are working to determine how much more water would have to be in the river for Rock Island to start generating again.

    They hope to ask the Bonneville Power Administration to coordinate releases of enough water from big federal dams upriver to get Rock Island back on line. Portland-based Bonneville oversees power and water coordination on the Columbia River.

    On the fish side of things, the clock is ticking. Adult fish will start heading upriver to spawn in late April and continue until November.

    The Grant County PUD said that if the water level remains low into the migration season, one option to provide upstream passage is modifying existing Wanapum Dam fish ladders. Another option is to trap and haul fish via trucks around the dam.

    With the cracked portion of the dam now stable, the Grant County PUD is studying the cause of the fracture, which was discovered on Feb. 27, and how best to repair the structure.

    triploidjunkie likes this.
  17. Get a Catchercraft and drag it out to the water like a normal person. Save the helicopter budget for BC.
    constructeur and Freestone like this.
  18. triploidjunkie likes this.

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