Wanapum Dam in Trouble???

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

  1. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

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    It's a sixty five foot crack two inches wide.
     
  2. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Maybe we could divert the water to the Seattle tunnel project, flush out Big Bertha and the rest of the tunnel blockage. There might be some silting however.
     
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  3. cmann886

    cmann886 Active Member

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    When rivers were wild, they seem to manage to flush themselves out, but then comes along fields that don't have good cover crops, over harvesting of Timber, massive silt build up behind dams, and it is easy to kill a river and small streams with silt. The Bear River in southern Idaho doesn't hold a tenth of the fish that it did when I was a kid---a lot of that is due to silt...fewer white fish, hardly any crayfish, cutthroat are nearly non existent rainbows are few etc.

    The Lower Touchet is also significantly silted. I have no idea what the impact would be on the Reach if the silt from Wanapum made it past Priest Rapids. The bottom line is it takes a river a long time to recover from silt.
     
  4. cmann886

    cmann886 Active Member

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    Has anyone heard any reputable report on the impact of catastrophic failure of Wanapum and over cresting of Priest Rapids?
     
  5. Oh-4wt

    Oh-4wt New Member

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    Salmo g. No ROV on any Mid-C dam. Only Chief Joe and G.C. have pen stocks.
    At Wanapum and Priest Rapids power production would be terminated well before the spillway flow would stop.
    Wanapum has been drawn down four ft. so far today. It looks like they will hit their target of 551.5 by the time day shift goes to work on Monday.
    Priest Rapids is being operated with in its normal level of one foot from the top.
    That tells me not to worry. They have a problem and when it is safe to do so closer inspections and survey will determine a strategy for repair.
     
  6. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    My office is directly below Wanapum Dam. I heard about the issue last week and headed for a meeting in BC. I got back and immediately headed for the Hoh. Tomorrow I'm headed for Omak. My idea is to keep having out-of-town meetings, vacation, and weekends until they get it figured out before heading back to the "office". The downside to not being in the office is I don't have any intel that has not made the press releases yet.
     
  7. Joe Goodfellow

    Joe Goodfellow Active Member

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    How is three years long? I'd rather my tax money go to removing a dam then repairing it.
     
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  8. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    What tax money is that? I think tax payer is being confused with rate payers. The dam is owned by its customers (rate payers) not the federal government. By state statue, it is a non-profit corporation and no federal dollars are used, though Grant PUD must comply with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for operations and management.
     
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  9. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    This appears to be a very serious issue for Grant PUD and for fish. The dam is 55 years old, so the PUD should have more than recovered its initial investment, but Grant's reputation for having the lowest electric rates in the nation may be at risk, depending on the costs associated with fixing this problem. A major repair could be measured in years, and I suppose, hundreds of millions of dollars. Yes, the worst case could be that serious. Hope it's not a worst case scenario.

    It looks like the dam near pier 5 has shifted downstream about 6". Maybe this isn't too big a deal, and its just settling, perhaps associated with the huge concrete pour on the upstream side of the non-powerhouse section of the dam. But the basalt foundation of the dam is on a geologic fault. The fault can be seen in photos taken across the valley, and it extends down into and across the river. If the fault has moved, even 6", this could pose a serious and extremely expensive repair to the dam.

    Now for the fish. The best news so far is that there is no good news. With the preliminary drawdown of 20', neither the upstream fish ladders or downstream fish passage bypass are functional. That's right, when the first spring chinook arrives at Wanapum within two months, the existing fish ladders cannot pass fish. At least not as is. Alternatives include jerry-rigging a water supply to the fishway entrance so that upstream migrants can be trapped and then hauled around the dam. The other alternative is to trap-and-haul from the one ladder at Priest Rapids that is equipped with a fish trap. Downstream passage can be effected by spilling at the Wanapum tainter gates. But with a lower reservoir level, smolts like chinook may be more attracted to the turbine penstocks than to the spillway gates.

    If the pool surface elevation has to be drawn below the spill gate invert, then the only water outlet is the turbine penstocks. (Maybe penstock is the wrong term for a dam of this design, but it refers to the open water passage from the upstream side of the dam through the turbines and out the raceway.) That would kind of undo all the improvements recently made in downstream smolt passage migration. But thus far no one knows how deep a drawdown is going to be necessary. 2014 is going to be an exciting year for Columbia River salmon and steelhead.

    Sg
     
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  10. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    Anyone know if the PUD risks $ penalties from takings of ESA listed stocks if the passage facilities are non-functional?
     
  11. ryfly

    ryfly Addicted to flyfishing

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    65 foot long 2 inch wide crack is apparently enough to alter the flow out of one of the spillways. I drove by on Saturday and the drawdown is lower than I have seen since the last maintenance on Wanapum years ago.
     
  12. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    David D.,

    I don't expect Grant PUD to be fined for unintentional taking of ESA fish. Of course, neither Grant's FERC license or its HCP with NMFS and USFWS anticipated a fault crack in the base and foundation of the dam. Grant's $$ penalties will come in the cost of repairs. Worst case, this will be a major construction project. Best case, it's gonna' take a lot more than a few tubes of caullking compound.

    Sg
     
  13. Scott Salzer

    Scott Salzer previously micro brew

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    There is a lot of sand showing upstream of the dam. There are a couple of boats tied up to the Vantage bridge support piers. Goona get interesting to se the next 14' drawn down. Long haul back aince I have to use Stevens Pass.

    MB
     
  14. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    I guess the box with the question "is the proposed dam site on or perilously close to a geological fault line", was missing on that application... or removed for convenience banghead.gif
     
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  15. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Carnac sees the phrase "armchair quarterbacks" coming into play.