Yesterday afternoon, we received an email from Russ Howison, with PacifiCorp. The email was sent to the White Salmon River outfitters to keep us up-to-date on their work in the Lower White Salmon River. Russ also forwarded a photo that he had taken of the logjam. A little bit later in the day, I also received an email from Larry Moran, with JR Merit contracting, providing a little bit more information about the status of the log jam in the Narrows of the Lower White Salmon River.

This photo was shot from the cliffs above the logjam. Both sides of the canyon are cliffed out. There is also wood in the pocket/cave on river right, as well as wood under the water that is not visible in the photo.

Logjam in the narrows of the White Salmon River

In the post A Quick Glimpse Into the “New” Lower White Salmon River last week, I wrote about the riverwide logjam in the Narrows of the White Salmon River. I explained that JR Merit, the contractor performing the work for PacifiCorp was planning to remove the logjam last week. The email from Russ with PacifiCorp stated that the logjam removal work was temporarily suspended due to the forest fire that was burning in the area. He also explained that restrictions due to high fire danger could cause additional delays. As far as timelines that we could look forward to, Russ wrote, “We are continuing to work on removing the jam and will keep you apprised of the situation as it continues to progress. We are continuing to work toward completing all in-water work by September 15, and are on schedule to meet this deadline.”

He also re-iterated their previous statements that the contractor working on the project will need time after Sept. 15th to complete work near the river in order to make the dam site safe for river travel. This work includes demolition of structures near the waterline, clearing the banks of all concrete debris, and removing equipment. So, don’t expect to be paddling the Lower White Salmon River on Sept. 16th, there’s still work to be done before we’ll be able to paddle this section of river.

Later in the day, I received an email from Larry Moran, with JR Merit. Larry was just giving a quick update to let us know that they did manage to begin working on the logjam yesterday. He explained that the water quality was good, allowing them to see a lot of the wood that was piled up under the water, and they have had success so far removing some of the logjam. He anticipates that they will continue to work on removal of the logjam throughout the weekend.

Thanks to Russ and Larry for keeping us informed of their progress! We’ll let you know when we have more information.

Author Todd Collins lives on the White Salmon River in BZ Corner and works year round for Wet Planet.