Thursday, July 8, 2010

Correction - Condit Dam Removal Slated for October

In an article posted last night we asserted that Condit dam on the White Salmon River would be removed starting this October. We based this on information found on Washington Department of Ecology's website, however it has come to our attention that the removal has been delayed for yet another year. Apparently the hold up is being caused by two Clean Water Act permits which remain to be issued by the Army Corp of Engineers and the Washington Department of Ecology. It is unfortunate that a buearocratic hold up is slowing the restoration of a wild and free flowing river, particularly when PacifiCorp is willing to pay to remove its own dam. Clearly, the removal of the dam is in the public interest and we hope that the project will move forward in 2011. More information to come.

See an article in the Columbian from this winter for more information

Condit Dam in southwest Washington has blocked anadromous access to the White Salmon River at river mile 3 for nearly 100 years. While the dam's owner PacifiCorp and regulators originally signed an agreement to take the dam out in 1999 the process has been slowed by a lengthy Environmental Impact assessment necessitated by elevated levels of mercury found in sediments trapped behind the dam. Despite the five year wait, the project appears to have cleared its final hurdle with the Washington Department of Ecology concluding that trapped mercury does not pose a significant threat to the environmental or public health. Removal is slated to begin in October when PacifiCorp will drain Northwestern Lake the first step in restoring access to almost 33 miles of habitat as well as replenishing gravel and large woody debris in the three miles of lower mainstem below the dam. WDFW has estimated that the newly available habitat may eventually support as many as 4000 spring chinook, 700 steelhead and 2000 coho. While the numbers are speculative at this point, the fact remains that the long awaited dam removal is set to begin this fall, making the White Salmon the latest in a series of fish passage and dam removal projects around the region which seek to allow fish access to more of their historic habitat. Good news for the future of wild salmon and steelhead in Washington State.

More information on Washington Department of Ecology's Website

Friends of the White Salmon

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Not sure where you heard this but this post should be changed...the dam removal has been put off yet another year...until 2011, and also, the lake behind the dam is Northwestern Lake, not Wilderness Lake