Anticipation Grows for Condit Dam Removal

The anticipation along the White Salmon is palpable.  River enthusiasts are chomping at the bit to see what new whitewater they have to explore, scientists are on the edge of their seats to see what happens to the millions of cubic yards of trapped sediment, concerned local residents are anxious to see whether their worst fears are realized.  Me?  I just hope all my cameras work.

In this video I recently produced, I check in with two local residents to learn what they’re looking forward to.  Heather Herbeck works for Wet Plantet, a local raft company, and is excited to explore the new whitewater in her backyard.  Phyllis Clausen, 30 year resident of Trout Lake, WA, is excited to see a project she’s poured her heart and soul into finally come to fruition.

What about you?  What are you looking forward to seeing, learning or experiencing when Condit is breached in two weeks and the lake is drained?


14 thoughts on “Anticipation Grows for Condit Dam Removal

  1. Why dont I get “comments” when I click on “see all comments” I heard negative comments (from people who don;t live on the lake) and would like to read any heron.

  2. I’m sorry that they have decided to let all that silt ruin the spawning grounds below the dam . the silt just fills in the Bonneville pool and ruins that fishery as well. they could have easily removed the silt as they lowered the reservoir behind Condit dam. shameful and irresponsible.

    1. It will be very interesting to watch and see what happens when the dam is breached. There will certainly be short-term effects to spawning habitat in the lower part of the White Salmon, but that temporary loss of marginal habitat will be more than offset by the fact that anadromous fish will have access to the prime habitat above the dam. And in short order, the lower river will recover from the breach.

      There are definitely risks involved in flushing the sediment so quickly, but it’s certainly the quickest way to do it and the way that will have with least impact on the threatened anadromous fish species.

      It’s the first time it’s ever been done on this scale though, so we’ll all have to wait and see what really happens!

  3. I’ll miss the reservoir for all the LAKE kayaking we did. I grew up fishing and boating on the reservoir as well. If anyone has ever made the trip from the boat launch near the dam all the way to the bridge they would have seen eagles, osprey, geese, ducks, and deer. During one Kayaking trip we had a deer swim across the lake right in front of us. Soon it will be just another river in the bottom of a canyon and all the scenic beauty of the reservoir will be lost. I can understand the power company choosing to remove it over the cost of upgrading it, but let’s forget the SAVE THE FISH bologna (that won’t fly with me for a reason to remove such a beautiful place.

    1. Save the warm muck hole that increased water temperature and turned the lower White Salmon into a stagnant swamp ….

      Or unbury a beautiful wild river and restore the natural flooding cycles and increase the bounty of wild fish….

      I choose the 2nd!

  4. Andy,

    Thank you for making this video. It brought tears to my eyes. What a powerful few minutes of imagery and music. I am so ready for this, and I want to thank you for your efforts on behalf of the river, the life that depends on it, and the community. You are much appreciated! I loved Mrs. Clausen. I want to meet her. What a gem.

    Elissa Pfost

  5. Yes, anticipation is growing, but any updates? Is the breaching on schedule? And what about those live cams? I know the public won’t have any good viewing locations, so….

    This is a great project and I can hardly wait to see the dam breached and the river restored to its original river bed. These are exciting times!

    1. Sorry for the lack of info lately! We’ve been super busy preparing for the blast, but I’m planning to do an update with all of the breach day info later today. Everything is on schedule for Wednesday, and there will be no way for the public to view the breach. The breach will be streamed live online, with details yet to be released by PacifiCorp. More later!

  6. Andy,

    Absolutely stunning video. I am a Colorado native, transplanted to Walla Walla for school and am living in Philadelphia this semester. I have appreciated all your updates and how much this video made me feel that the white salmon is home to me. What is the name of the song in the movie?

    Thanks again for all you’ve done. It was incredible to be able to watch the lake become a river again in real time yesterday.



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