Friday October 21, 2022

The Columbian

Unless you live in or around the Columbia River Gorge, you may not have heard of the Condit Dam on Washington’s White Salmon River.

For a century, the 44-mile-long White Salmon had been blocked by the 125-foot PacifiCorp hydroelectric dam, located upstream from the town of Underwood.

On Oct. 26, 2011, contractors detonated charges opening a tunnel through the base of the dam. The opening emptied Northwestern Lake behind the dam and sent millions of gallons of water and tons of sediment downriver.

Engineers expected that upon breaching the Condit Dam, the lake would drain in six hours. It drained in 30 minutes.

Among other things, the event heralded a rebirth for anadromous fish populations in the White Salmon River watershed.

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