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Energy | Environment | News

NW Scientists Make The Case For Spilling More Water Over Dams

OPB/EarthFix | Aug. 16, 2017 4:37 p.m.

On Wednesday, dozens of scientists sent a letter to Northwest lawmakers in Congress. In it, they argue in favor of spilling more water over dams to help fish.

local | Fish & Wildlife | Environment | News

Legal Battle Drives Dam Managers To Extraordinary Salmon Research

OPB/EarthFix | July 7, 2017 12:15 p.m. | Bonneville, Oregon

As a 20-year lawsuit drags on, federal dam managers need to prove to the court that habitat restoration is actually working to save salmon. And that’s no small task.

Energy | Fish & Wildlife | Environment

Plaintiffs Call For More Court-Ordered Spill At Columbia River Dams

OPB/EarthFix | Jan. 10, 2017 4:45 p.m. | Portland

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit over dams in the Columbia River Basin are asking the court to order federal agencies to spill more water over the dams this spring to help threatened and endangered fish.

Nation | News | Think Out Loud

Forest Service Responds | Woody Guthrie In The Pacific Northewest

OPB | Aug. 18, 2016 noon

The US Forest Service responds to our interview with Oregonian reporters about their Canyon Creek fire investigation. And KEXP DJ Greg Vandy about Woody Guthrie's time in our neck of the woods.

Energy | Environment

Lawsuit Aims To Stop Oil Spills From Grand Coulee Dam

OPB/EarthFix | June 29, 2016 4 p.m. | Portland

The environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper is suing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation over oil spills from Grand Coulee Dam.

Fish & Wildlife | Environment

Judge Rejects Feds' Latest Plan To Help Salmon Survive Columbia River Dams

OPB/EarthFix | May 4, 2016 3:15 p.m.

In a ruling Wednesday, Federal District Court Judge Michael Simon rejected the government's latest plan for protecting salmon in the Columbia River Basin, saying the system of fish-blocking dams “cries out for a new approach.”

Water | Environment

Less Water In Northwest Rivers Will Mean Less Hydropower

OPB | May 5, 2015 6:30 p.m.

Water supply forecasts are looking bleak for many Northwest rivers this year. Managers say that means the region will generate less hydropower.


Tracking Columbia River Salmon With Tiny Tags

Northwest Public Radio | Feb. 2, 2015 5 p.m.

Tracking salmon as they move past Columbia River dams just got a little easier. Scientists are using a new tag so small that researchers can inject it with a syringe into the fishes' bellies.

Energy | Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Time lapse videos: Breaching the Elwha dams

Ecotrope | Oct. 11, 2011 8:41 a.m.

The world's largest river restoration project is underway as two dams are demolished on Washington's Elwha River. Sightline Director Alan Durning pieced together this time lapse video using webcam shots of the Glines Canyon Dam being breached in four places Oct. 3-6:

Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Cooling off the Columbia: Can dams do more?

Ecotrope | Sept. 6, 2011 6:44 a.m.

I talked with Dave Ponganis of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about how dams on the Columbia River affect water temperature and what his agency does to keep the water at cool enough for threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

Water | Ecotrope

11 years of warm water in the Columbia River

Ecotrope | Sept. 1, 2011 5:45 a.m.

I try to pay attention to what’s happening on the Columbia River. And I thought I had a handle on things generally. But I didn’t know that the river has been exceeding the temperature limit under the Clean Water Act for more than a decade. Did you know that?

Energy | Water | Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Redden: Dam plans are "plagued with uncertainty"

Ecotrope | Aug. 2, 2011 12:06 p.m.

In an opinion issued today, Judge James Redden made a point to burn federal agencies on the weak aspects of their plans to offset the environmental impacts of the Columbia River hydropower system. I wanted to list a few of his most barbed remarks. But as Michael Milstein of Bonneville Power Administration pointed out, the judge left the most essential ...

Energy | Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Two reactions to Judge Redden's ruling on dams

Ecotrope | Aug. 2, 2011 10:43 a.m.

The federal agencies that built the rejected dam mitigation plan (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation) released a joint statement suggesting Judge Redden's ruling isn't the end of the world. They say they're grateful to have until 2014 to work on a better plan, thought they will be considering an appeal:

Energy | Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Redden remands Columbia River dam plan

Ecotrope | Aug. 2, 2011 8:56 a.m.

In a 24-page opinion released today, Judge James Redden rejected the federal plan for managing Columbia River dams to protect salmon. In the opinion, he called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's conclusion that the hydropower system will not jeopardize the survival of protected salmon and steelhead "arbitrary and capricious." And he threw in some zingers, too (stay tuned).

Water | Ecotrope

Protecting landowners with a fish designation

Ecotrope | May 23, 2011 9:08 a.m.

Landowners on Central Oregon’s Deschutes River and its tributaries would have at least 12 years without facing water-diversion limits or other restrictions triggered by the presence of a newly reintroduced steelhead that’s on the endangered species list.

Renewable energy | Ecotrope

Gassing salmon with spill water: A real risk or an excuse to shut off wind turbines?

Ecotrope | May 20, 2011 1 a.m.

An intriguing question has come up in the power struggle between hydropower and wind energy in the Northwest:

Renewable energy | Ecotrope

Wind vs. Water: Is this case headed to court?

Ecotrope | May 18, 2011 7:30 a.m.

Wind energy advocates at the nonprofit Renewable Northwest Project issued a statement last week that hints at a legal fight brewing between the wind industry and hydropower managers. It stems from Bonneville Power Administration's decision to curtail wind turbines when there's too much spring runoff in the Columbia River Basin. The rub is that BPA decided not to compensate wind ...

Renewable energy | Ecotrope

Here, now: All-renewable electricity

Ecotrope | May 17, 2011 4:58 a.m.

Bonneville Power Administration has shut down natural gas, nuclear and coal-fired power plants to make room on the grid for lots of hydropower coming from spring water runoff passing through dams in the Columbia River Basin.

Renewable energy | Ecotrope

Wind vs. water: The power struggle continues

Ecotrope | May 13, 2011 10:26 a.m.

Bonneville Power Administration just announced it will reserve the right to dial down wind turbines this spring to manage the renewable power gridlock that comes when the region has too much wind and water at the same time.