By Susan Hollingsworth

Its officially official.  Finally.

Condit Dam will be removed from the White Salmon River in October of this year.

Yesterday PacifiCorp released a long-awaited final approval and press release for the upcoming decommission event.  While steps have been taken throughout the winter (since FERC’s initial acceptance of the Surrender Order in December of 2010), the actual removal date remained in question until now.  Patchwork Condit Dam Photo, 2nd largest hydropower removal project ever

In order to take out the dam safely and smoothly, PacifiCorp had to approve 18 different management plans and work with several outside entities (Klickitat and Skamania counties, Washington Department of Ecology, American Rivers, Yakima Tribe, and more) for settlement issues.  The project was originally schedule to be removed over 5 years ago, but has been held up until now.

To begin the process, PacifiCorp’s contractors will reinforce the Northwestern Lake bridge as well as install a new water pipeline for the city of White Salmon.  Following the October dramatic draining event, PacifiCorp will work to stabilize the river banks and continue flushing remaining sediment downstream.  Amy Kober, spokesperson for the national conservation agency American Rivers, notes that rivers return to their original channels and restore themselves much faster than we may think. The mile-long conduit will be dismantled, along with most of Condit Dam's facilities

The hydropower company plans to begin deconstructing the dam’s facilities in the spring, once stabilization of the river is under control.

Most of the remaining pieces of the project will be placed along the path of the wood-stave conduit, which will also be dismantled.  Soil will cover the wreckage, possibly creating a perfect location for a riverside trail.

Dates to remember:

July 5th:  Passage along the White Salmon River will be closed beneath the Northwestern Lake bridge.  Kayakers, rafters, and river enthusiasts will need to make alternate take-out plans, keeping in mind that much of the land upstream is privately owned.

July 10th: 6th Annual White Salmon River Fest and Symposium, based out of Wet Planet Whitewater. Come celebrate this landmark year for our river and learn more about the removal process and future plans. Check the blog for a more detailed schedule of the day’s events.

Late October: Removal dates will soon be finalized, as well as the time and place for the grand celebration!

White Salmon: Kind of a Big Deal

Perhaps you have been a local to the area for many years, or even a seasonal resident, but the removal of Condit Dam is a national event for river restoration.  The hydropower facility, at 125 ft tall, is the second highest to ever be removed.  The 210 ft Glynes Dam on the Olympic Peninsula will be removed in September.

These events will be the largest river restoration undertakings the nation has ever seen.  Eyes all over the country, from river enthusiasts to hydropower companies to intrigued bystanders, will be fixed upon our White Salmon River.

Whitewater rafters and kayakers sit on the edge of their seats, waiting for the first views of the new river canyon on the White Salmon.  Two miles of additional whitewater will be revealed, never descended by modern whitewater rafts or kayaks.

This morning, articles poured out of major news sources regarding the latest news on Condit.  Articles can be seen in Portland’s Columbian and Tribune.

For additional info, take a look at KATU’s news report and video on the dam’s removal.  Stay tuned for more updates from The Eddy Line as well!

Author touring Condit Dam facilities with Megan Hooker of American Whitewater