Columbia River

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.”

Updated -- Officials with the Grant County Public Utility District say an electrical equipment failure is to blame for an explosion at Priest Rapids Dam Thursday that injured six workers, two critically.

An explosion at a central Washington dam Thursday afternoon injured six workers, two critically. Harborview Medical Center in Seattle was treating five workers who were airlifted to the hospital, including two who were in critical condition. Three other patients are in satisfactory condition and being treated for burns.

Diesel Spills Into Columbia After Ship Hits Astoria Pier

Oct 3, 2015

The Coast Guard says a diesel spill in the Columbia River is being cleaned up after a cargo ship leaked more than one-thousand gallons of fuel Friday.

The 1,100-gallon spill happened early in the morning after the vessel struck a pier. The collision created a 4-foot gash in the ship, which was arriving at the port to collect a load of logs.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Levi Read said the spill was contained and was being cleaned up.

Killing Seabirds To Save Salmon On The Columbia

Aug 26, 2015

It's after 10 p.m. and I'm on a boat at the mouth of the Columbia River.

We're circling around East Sand Island, where thousands of seabirds are nesting in total darkness. I'm pretty sure the captain, Rob Gudgell, thinks I'm nuts.

"Why did you want to come out at night?" he asks.

California sea lions are literally piling into Astoria's East Mooring Basin. They've taken over every square foot of the boat docks, and they're even lying on top of each other for lack of space.

The latest sea lion count in the marina tallied a record 2,340 – a "mind-boggling number," according to Bryan Wright of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Meanwhile California is seeing starving sea lion pups washing up on shore.

For decades the Army Corps of Engineers used an island near the Bonneville Dam as a dumping ground. Toxic chemicals leaked into the Columbia River. The island is also a historic fishing site for the Yakama Nation.

The tribe is now suing the Corps to recover costs from helping clean up the contamination.

In 2003, the Corps removed electrical equipment and contaminated sediment found at the bottom of the river. In 2007, it dredged the area to remove more contaminated soil.

PORTLAND -- New research suggests sea lions are eating more salmon in the Columbia River than previously thought.

Data from tracking salmon over the past five years show a significant drop in survival below Bonneville Dam. Michelle Rub, a researcher with with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, says preliminary numbers show survival dropping from 90 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2014.

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Three environmental groups say the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant is harming fish. The groups are suing a Washington state agency because they say it issued a permit that violates the Clean Water Act.

A little-known fact about Columbia River dams is that a valuable chunk of the power generated on the U.S. side goes to Canada under an international treaty.

California brown pelicans usually nest and hatch chicks in Southern California and Mexico. But in the past two years, scientists have seen them building nests much farther north on an island in the Columbia River.

The unusual nesting behavior follows a northward shift in the birds’ migratory patterns over the past three decades, according to Oregon State University seabird ecologist Dan Roby. He noted that a similar pelican species has also been moving north and expanding its breeding range on the East Coast, which suggests it could be linked to climate change.

Flickr Photo/Matt Shiffler Photography (CC BY-NC-ND)

The U.S. Geological Survey has found high levels of toxic substances in the Columbia River everywhere from sediments to resident fish to osprey eggs.

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

The Columbia River will remain drawn down at least until June because of the cracked Wanapum Dam in southeast Washington.

This summer could be a bust for a resort community in central Washington after a crack in the Wanapum Dam forced operators to draw down the Columbia River more than 25 feet.

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