Condit Dam Timelapse Update: Buildup to Breach

Our two timelapse cameras have now been shooting 10 images a day for the last 67 days.  With more than 1,200 images in the can, we thought it was time to let everyone see how the project is developing.

(tip: click the little arrows and make it full screen)

So, what’s happened since we installed our cameras?  Here’s what you can see in the first video:

  • The lake was drawn down more than 10 feet
  • The minimum flow has been diverted around the site, and the pool below the dam has been drained
  • A scaffolding was installed to allow better access to the site
  • Cables were strung high across across the river and machinery lowered into the riverbed
  • A huge floating crane has been moved into position upstream of the dam
  • Blasting of the drain tunnel is progressing well
The final countdown to breach day: October 26th, 2011 has begun.  If you’re wondering, no, there won’t be a way for you to watch the blast in person (I was wondering).  Access will be restricted on both sides of the river.  There’s rumors of security planned for the west shoreline and the NW Lake Community access is private property, so be respectful.  Fortunately, PacifiCorp will be live-streaming the breach via the Internet, so you’ll be able to watch it from home.  More details on that to come.
Cheers to a soon-to-be freeflowing White Salmon River!

9 thoughts on “Condit Dam Timelapse Update: Buildup to Breach

  1. Can’t wait to see the final sequence of this Andy. In my mind there’s going to be massive explosion and a tidal wave, I’m guessing that’s not how it works . . .

    When I was kid I used to dig a reservoir at the top of a river beach, then dig a mini river down the beach with rapids and falls built in. Then I’d fill the reservoir with buckets of water and break the wall and watch the river bed turn into rapids.

    It’s like a full size version of that! I’m really interested to see how the water flows through and erodes the sediment under the reservoir.

    1. Hey Rob,
      It actually should happen a lot like that. The plan is to blast the tunnel all the way though and drain the entire lake in 6 hours–ideally carrying most of the sediment out with the “tidal wave.” I’m really excited to see what actually happens though.

  2. Andy, Steve: This project is really coming together — the timelapse is fascinating. Can’t wait to see what you put together following the blast and dewatering.

    Great ideas, well-executed!


  3. Thank you for the time lapse effort and history! I’m currently doing a study/paper on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project for an Environmental Assessment course at WSU. Really neat to see the project I’m studying so far away…

  4. This is great. Thanks.
    I am really curious about a dead salmon I saw on the riverbank just north of the NW lake bridge yesterday (above the dam). How did it get there? It was more than 3 feet long and 30-40 lbs. Sea-run Chinook? Dead, rotting, but whole and relatively fresh…

    1. Very good eye! In preparation for the big sediment surge next month, US Fish & Wildlife is netting salmon below the dam before they have a chance to spawn and transporting them up above the dam. That way, eggs laid below the dam don’t get wiped out and salmon start getting re-used to spawning above the dam.

      Turns out, the experiment worked and the salmon are spawning up there for the first time in 100 years:

      1. Good plan – today Oct 1 I saw a 4 large salmon working the river bed at the NW Lake take out park below the bridge

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