Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Free the Snake Flotilla, October 3rd
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Jake Neiffer
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PostFri Oct 16, 2015 1:10 pm 
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Looks like you're correct Snowbrushy.  Glancing here, a lot of the dams (the lower ones in particular) are not used for irrigation.
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Schenk
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PostFri Oct 16, 2015 2:52 pm 
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IanB wrote:
And don't even bring up publicly funded stadiums...

Why not?
The Eastside has no monopoly on subsidies.
Every State, every Region, has it own examples and that is my only point.
For the record, I lean toward dam removal, but with safety nets in place for those who will be affected seriously.

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Ski
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PostFri Oct 16, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Ian - excellent points.

but again: what's gained in removal of Snake River dams when you've got the hurdles at Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, and McNary downstream?

map

do the fish ladders really work?

don't think for a minute I don't favor the anadromous runs over big ag.... that just ain't so....
but the solutions are not as simplistic as simply blasting out a few dams.

and again: we have yet to see long-term results on the ground (or in the water) gotten by dam removal. maybe the efforts on the Elwha will pan out.... maybe they won't... way too early to make a call on that one.

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Snowbrushy
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 6:58 am 
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Ski wrote:
what's gained in removal of Snake River dams when you've got the hurdles at Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, and McNary downstream?

High Salmon in Yellowstone NP. They came all of those miles. It's hard to imagine: 
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graywolf
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 9:37 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
Salmon nests "redds" require the right mix of gravel, shade and other factors to effectively raise eggs to fry.  With decades of sediment on the lake bottom it may take many years -- even decades before the areas above the former dam site are productive salmon habitat

Have you ever hiked the Elwha trail?  There are many miles of pristine river above the former dam sites for the salmon to spawn in.  So unless the silt from the former lakes is traveling upstream, or the salmon choose only to use the former lake beds and the river downstream from them, this is an argument without merit.

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drm
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 9:42 am 
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I have read that the fish ladders on the Columbia River dams work a lot better than on the Snake River dams, so removing the latter would do more for improving the runs than the former.

I wonder what the sediment load is behind the dams though. Released sediments can be very bad for fish and the removal has to be designed in such a way that they do not clog things up. For Condit this meant drilling a hole most of the way through and then blowing the last part so that the water release was fairly dramatic so that the sediment can be carried away and not all accumulate just below the dam. Not sure how this would be managed on much larger dams and dredging it away vastly increases the cost of removal. Sediments sometimes also have a lot of toxic load in them. Sediments are not an issue above the reservoir, but potentially in it and below. Sometimes they have been trucked away but - Condit/White Salmon, Elwha - these are tiny compared to the Snake River dams. It's a whole new engineering challenge.

All of this needs to be researched and planned for before we really know what the removal will take.
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 9:52 am 
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graywolf, in response to Randy's post above wrote:

Have you ever hiked the Elwha trail?  There are many miles of pristine river above the former dam sites for the salmon to spawn in.  So unless the silt from the former lakes is traveling upstream, or the salmon choose only to use the former lake beds and the river downstream from them, this is an argument without merit.

not so.

the dam (or obstruction) downstream does affect the stream upstream.

it's just part of the way rivers work.

Upper Carbon. Upper Nisqually. ad infinitum.

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graywolf
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 10:07 am 
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I fished the upper Elwha in the vicinity of Elkhorn (11.5 miles upriver from the head of the former Lake Millls) every September from 1985 until the closure of the river.  Are you implying that the silt from Lake Mills will travel over 11 miles upstream?

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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 11:00 am 
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no, not at all.
but what happens downstream on a river affects what happens upstream.
I know it doesn't make sense on the surface, and I honestly don't know how to explain it, but it is.

Carbon is a good example. Upper stretch - from the Park entrance up to the suspension bridge. streambed ROSE up to a level which was higher than the original roadbed. the dam is way down near Buckley. go figure.

if you tied a rubber band around your wrist and left it there long enough, your elbow would start throbbing.

stuff that guys with job titles of "hydromorphologist" write papers on.

you can't put stuff in a river and expect stuff to not happen upstream. just not the way rivers work.

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Magellan
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 11:05 am 
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I'm learning from reading this thread.  up.gif  Can someone show me how we don't need the energy generated at these dams?
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graywolf
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 11:08 am 
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I understand what you're saying, but the example of the rubber band doesn't work for me.  Hydraulic heads in the Elwha moving over 11 miles (and more!) upstream is something I cannot envision.

Also, Randyhiker implied that the Elwha River is not pristine - that's like saying the upper Queets isn't pristine.

Ask your ONP fishery biologist friends if they think the upper Elwha is pristine or not.

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drm
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 11:25 am 
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A dam can certainly affect the river upstream, but the sediment does not flow upstream beyond the height of the reservoir.

Magellan - we do use/need the energy that comes from these dams and it will need to be replaced, hopefully by other non-carbon sources. Of course it would take many years to remove these dams even if there was no political controversy involved and who knows how power generation technologies would evolve or improve by then. Since we don't want to do that with coal, we would need to use efficiency retrofits and solar and wind. That's possible but not easy, and any plan to remove these dams need to have that as an integral part.
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graywolf
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 11:45 am 
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The dam was at an elevation below 800 feet, Elkhorn is at 1400 feet.  And Elkhorn is only 11.5 miles upriver (it goes a lot further).  That's a hydraulic head of 600+ feet, never mind the distance.

And again, the upper Elwha isn't pristine?

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onemoremile
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 11:57 am 
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Think it is due to the subterranean flows.  The dams can raise the water tables further upstream, changing what % flows on the surface and what % is flowing underground.
Upper Elwha, I guess you could argue, isn't pristine because it hasn't had annual refreshment of marine nutrients in over a century.  At some point, maybe a certain biomass return could make it better fit a definition.

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graywolf
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PostSat Oct 17, 2015 12:06 pm 
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onemoremile wrote:
Upper Elwha, I guess you could argue, isn't pristine because it hasn't had annual refreshment of marine nutrients in over a century.  At some point, maybe a certain biomass return could make it better fit a definition.

Ok, this makes sense to me.  But the numbers of trout in the upper river are incredible, so there is quite a lot of biomass up there.

Anyways, sorry for taking this thread sideways.

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Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Free the Snake Flotilla, October 3rd
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