July 14, 2014 – Grant PUD plans to begin dredging project at Crescent Bar

EPHRATA, Wash.— Work to improve boat navigation near Crescent Bar is expected to begin next month, according to an agreement reached between Grant PUD and Crescent Bar Inc.

The dredging project will remove sediments from the boating channel that runs under the bridge connecting Crescent Bar Boat Launch with the main-stem of the Columbia River.

Under the agreement, Grant PUD will remove about 45,000 cubic yards of sediment in the channel that connects the Crescent Bar Boat Launch with the main-stem Columbia River. The boating channel is currently dry, because of the reservoir drawdown in response to repairs on the Wanapum Dam spillway. The drawdown is expected to continue until the fourth quarter of this year.

Grant PUD is accelerating its plan to dredge the channel, a recreation enhancement required under its federal license, so the work can be performed during the dry conditions. Doing so will reduce environmental impacts, provide better quality control, allow for a shorter construction period and provide a cost-savings to Grant PUD ratepayers.

The utility will hold an abbreviated bid process for qualified contractors. Preliminary work is expected to begin in mid-August, after a contractor is selected and all the necessary permits and approvals are obtained.

The majority of the dredging will take place after Labor Day weekend to reduce impacts to residents and those recreating in the area. It is anticipated that the project will take about six to 10 weeks to complete and should be finished before Grant PUD begins raising the level of the Wanapum reservoir.

“There has been much interest from all involved parties on doing this work now while the reservoir level is down,” said Bob Bernd, Grant PUD board president. “This is the right time to do this project and we believe it will provide a great benefit for recreation in the area for many years to come when it is finished.”

Randy Hoefer, of Crescent Bar Inc., said, “We are happy to work together with Grant PUD to come up with a plan to get the dredging project completed. This is something that will be good for the whole community.”

For additional information on the Wanapum Dam issue, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Recreation, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

06/24/14 Work continues on Wanapum Dam spillway

Crews work around the clock on Wanapum Dam spillway

Grant PUD and its contractors continue work on the 800-foot-long Wanapum Dam spillway to prepare for final reinforcing repairs.

A drill rig bores out a hole for an anchor tendon that will go from the top of the spillway into bedrock below the dam. Each of the 13 spillway monoliths will be reinforced with anchor tendons.

Various types of drilling are underway as crews prepare for repairs once they are approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This drilling work is the most time-intensive phase of the repair process. Holes are being drilled throughout the spillway in anticipation of high strength cables (known as tendons) being installed from the top of the dam into the bedrock below. Repairs will also likely include additional reinforcing anchor bars in the upstream and downstream sides of the spillway

Work is underway to renovate the Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch while the Wanapum reservoir is lowered in response to the Wanapum Dam spillway.

Thousands of pages of technical data outlining repair plans require the FERC approval prior to being implemented. All repairs will occur over the summer allowing the utility to increase the river elevation in the fourth quarter of 2014. Costs are still on track at the $61 million estimate.

Workers install a spiral exit flume on the Wanapum Dam left-bank fish ladder. The spiral flume will accommodate the record-breaking runs of salmon that are anticipated for this year.

Fish passage modifications to both of the dam’s ladders have proven effective, allowing the utility to suspend the trap and haul operation for migrating adult fish in May. Over 23,500 spring Chinook adults have migrated upstream successfully. Spiral flumes have been added to the existing fish ladders in anticipation of the record-breaking sockeye, summer and fall Chinook runs. As of June 22 over 7,000 sockeye and 13,000 summer Chinook have been counted passing Priest Rapids Dam.

Excavation and pile-driving work is near completion on both the Vantage and Frenchman Coulee boat launches. The improved sites will be available to the public by the 2015 Memorial Day weekend. Current low-river conditions have allowed the utility to expedite these projects at a decreased cost to customers.

The 38-mile stretch of shoreline from above Wanapum Dam to below Rock Island Dam will continue to be closed as a precaution for public safety and to protect culturally-sensitive sites. The shoreline will remain closed until repairs to Wanapum Dam are in place. While there may be some portions of the shoreline that appear safe, the velocity of water moving through the narrow river channel, and sandy banks creates hazardous conditions for the public. Recreation sites below Wanapum Dam continue to provide recreation opportunities throughout the summer months.

Wanapum Dam remains stable and is operating at approximately 50 percent capacity. The river elevation above the dam has been reduced by approximately 25 feet while repairs occur.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Recreation, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

June 9, 2014 Fish passage from Priest Rapids, Wanapum and Rock Island dams going well

Efforts to install extended fish ladders for adult spring Chinook, steelhead and lamprey show positive results

Modifications to fish ladders at both Wanapum and Rock Island dams are showing positive results for the spring run of adult Chinook salmon. Grant PUD completed installation of temporary pumps, weir boxes and exit flumes at its two fish ladders in mid-April. At Rock Island Dam, Chelan PUD installed two 80-foot denil baffled extensions on the Chelan County side of the dam to provide fish access to the ladders when low river flows occur in late summer. A third ladder extension on the Douglas County side will be completed in mid-June in time for the anticipated record return of sockeye and summer Chinook.

“Fish passage has been a priority for us since we realized that the Wanapum fracture would impact fish passage. Without the cooperation of the tribes, agencies and other hydro operators this positive outcome would have not been possible,” said Grant PUD Director of Natural Resources Jeff Grizzel.

“This has been a collaborative effort from the start,” said Keith Truscott, Chelan PUD Natural Resources director. “We have been working closely with our colleagues at Grant PUD and with federal, state and tribal entities to ensure the safe passage of fish this season. It’s nothing short of miraculous how this work was pulled together to complete the fish ladder extensions in time for the spring run.”

Spring river flows are mirroring expected normal runoff resulting in near-normal water levels for fish ladder operations at Rock Island Dam. The monitoring and evaluation of returning adults at Rock Island agrees with the findings at Wanapum Dam demonstrating to biologists the success of spring Chinook migrating upstream past Wanapum and Rock Island dams.

A sample of hatchery origin spring Chinook adults was monitored using acoustic tags to evaluate upstream passage from Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam. Results of this monitoring effort revealed that 100 percent of the acoustic-tagged fish successfully migrated past Wanapum and Rock Island dams this spring. The spring Chinook adult count at Rock Island surpassed 20,000 fish on June 3, which comparatively is 164 percent of the 10-year average for spring Chinook by this date.

Media Contact:
Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035
publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Fish and Wildlife, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Local students participate in Solar Car Races & Energy Fair

MOSES LAKE, Wash – Grant County fifth-graders learned about renewable energy as they participated with in the annual Solar Car Races & Energy Fair held on May 21 and 22

Grant County fifth-grade students participate in the 2014 Solar Car Races & Energy Fair at Big Bend.

at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.

Students prepared for the races by constructing their own solar-powered vehicle with kits provided by REC Silicon and Grant PUD in class before attending the event. They brought their cars to race on specially-designed tracks against their classmates. Along with the races, the students also visited a variety of stations where they learned about renewable energy in the region. Grant PUD gave a presentation about hydropower, Puget Sound Energy taught the students about windpower and REC Silicon Inc., demonstrated how it creates silicon for solar panels at its Moses Lake plant. There were also other hands-on stations that gave the students an opportunity to learn how humans harness and use renewable energy. The students’ instructors used the event as a supplement to their science and math curriculum.

The Solar Car Races & Energy Fair is a collaborative effort put on by Grant PUD, REC Silicon, Puget Sound Energy, Moses Lake School District and Big Bend Community College.

Posted in Community, Community Service, Press Releases | Leave a comment

May 15, 2014 Governor Inslee views work underway at Wanapum Dam

Gov. Jay Inslee visited Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River this week to view work underway in response to a fracture found in the dam’s spillway in late February. The tour of the hydroelectric plant provided an opportunity for the governor to see fish passage modifications as well as ongoing work to repair the spillway.

(ABOVE) Washington State Governor Inslee (center) joined by Grant PUD General Manager Tony Webb (left) and Wanapum Dam Plant Manager Mark Beattie (right) on his tour of the Wanapum Dam facility learning about potential repair work to the Wanapum Dam spillway.

Following the visit to Wanapum Dam Governor Inslee commented, that, “Wanapum Dam has provided tremendous economic value to the people of the Pacific Northwest for over 50 years. It will add even more in the future as we work to balance the need for economic growth, natural resource protection and to secure our position as a leader in providing carbon-free energy. ”

The governor’s visit follows news that a fracture likely developed in Wanapum Dam due to a mathematical error during the pre-construction design of the dam. The Wanapum reservoir shoreline will remain closed during the current low-reservoir elevations to protect culturally-sensitive areas and for public safety. Repairs to the spillway will likely keep reservoir levels low through the fourth quarter of this year. Under the current reservoir elevation, Wanapum Dam continues to generate electricity at about 50 to 60 percent of its capacity and is passing spring runoff flows in coordination with other dam operators on the river.

Since the fracture was discovered in late February, Grant PUD has continued to meet its obligations to balance the diverse needs of fish passage, flood-control, irrigation, cultural resource protection, recreation, public safety and electric generation.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

May 13, 2014 Investigation identifies likely cause of Wanapum Dam fracture

Repairs likely to keep reservoir behind dam low all summer

BEVERLY, Wash.— Preliminary results of an extensive 11-week investigation by Grant PUD and its consultants has determined that the primary contributing factor to a fracture developing within the dam’s spillway, was a mathematical error during the pre-construction design of Wanapum Dam.

The fracture forming on spillway monolith No. 4 may have been exacerbated by a weak construction joint. These results will be submitted to Grant PUD’s Board of Consultants for final review.

A team of engineers discovered the mathematical error while examining the original design calculations of the Wanapum Dam spillway. When engineers recalculated the original design formulas they found that additional concrete and/or reinforced steel should have been included in the construction of the monolith.

The original designers of the dam miscalculated that the weight of the spillway’s concrete provided enough strength to resist the force of the water pushing against it. Over time this weak point on spillway pier No. 4 succumbed to the force of the water pushing against it until after approximately 50 years of operation, the fracture formed. Had Grant PUD engineers known of the design miscalculation earlier, the spillway could have been reinforced prior to a fracture forming.

The investigation indicates that the fracture may have originated a number of years ago and spread gradually over time, ultimately allowing enough water into the fracture to push the upper portion of the structure visibly out of place. Grant PUD’s monitoring programs never identified this section of the dam as being susceptible to this type of potential failure and did not identify the issue at the time the fracture began. Moving forward, this section of the dam will be monitored and evaluated throughout the repair phase and as the dam resumes normal operations. Grant PUD is committed to following all FERC-approved dam safety and monitoring programs.

To repair spillway pier No. 4, additional steel reinforcement installed through the concrete structure into bedrock is anticipated. The remaining 12 spillway pier monoliths have a design similar to monolith No. 4 and additional steel reinforcement will likely be necessary to secure all of the spillway pier monoliths into bedrock. The independent board of consultants will review and FERC must approve any repairs prior to implementation by Grant PUD.

Repairs to the spillway are likely to occur throughout the summer allowing the utility to potentially raise the reservoir behind Wanapum Dam in the fourth quarter of 2014 by an additional 19 feet to an operating elevation of 560-562 feet above sea level. Shortly after this intermediate river level is reached, limited public access to the Wanapum shoreline and reservoir will likely be restored.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

#                                                          #

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

May 6, 2014 – Wanapum Reservoir will remain closed during Memorial Day weekend

Wanapum Reservoir will remain closed during Memorial Day weekend

EPHRATA, Wash. – With Memorial Day weekend drawing near, Grant PUD and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) remind those planning to recreate on the Columbia River that the Wanapum reservoir shoreline remains closed to the public.

The utility, working in conjunction with WDFW, has closed the shoreline, beaches, boat launches and all shoreline access points to the reservoir, which runs about 37 river miles between Wanapum Dam and Rock Island Dam on the Columbia River in central Washington.

Grant PUD sites that are closed include:

  • Vantage Recreation Area
  • Kittitas County Boat Launch
  • Rocky Coulee
  • Sand Hollow
  • The Cove
  • Apricot Orchard
  • Crescent Bar Boat Launch and shoreline area
  • Wanapum Upper Boat Launch
  • Wanapum Heritage Center

WDFW shoreline sites that are closed include:

  • Yo Yo Rock
  • Old Vantage Highway
  • Sunland Estates Boat Launch
  • Frenchman Coulee/Climbing Rocks water access sites

WDFW also has closed the lower ends of roads that lead into the reservoir at the Colockum and L.T. Murray wildlife areas in Kittitas and Chelan counties, and at the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant County. The upland portions of the wildlife areas above the ordinary high-water level remain open to the public. Washington State Parks has closed the Wanapum State Park near Vantage.

The shoreline was closed after the reservoir was drawn down in response to a fracture found Feb. 27 on the Wanapum Dam spillway. The shoreline is expected to be closed at least through the July 4th weekend.

There are several recreation sites open on the Priest Rapids reservoir on the Columbia River downstream of Wanapum Dam, including Priest Rapids Recreation Area, and the Wanapum Lower Boat Launch. The utility also plans to open the Huntzinger Boat Launch on Friday, May 23, which will provide access to the Priest Rapids reservoir. A full list of sites that are open and closed, along with directions and information, can be found on Grant PUD’s website www.grantpud.org.

The low-water situation on the Wanapum reservoir makes boat launches inoperable, has created hazardous conditions and has also exposed culturally-sensitive locations. Grant PUD is contracting with law enforcement agencies, including WDFW officers for increased patrols of the shoreline. The utility is also working with private security contractors and has its own employees patrolling the shoreline.

Grant PUD and WDFW acknowledge that the temporary shoreline closure creates a hardship for those who had planned to recreate on the Wanapum reservoir section of the Columbia River. Both the utility and WDFW appreciate the public’s patience and understanding.

To follow the progress of the response to the Wanapum Dam spillway, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

Grant PUD Public Affairs

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Jim Brown

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

(509) 754-4624, ext. 219 / Jim.Brown@dfw.wa.gov

Posted in Fish and Wildlife, Press Releases, Recreation, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | 1 Comment

April 30, 2014: Wanapum and Priest Rapids fish bypass units ready for juvenile migration

Juvenile salmon and steelhead passage is now underway at Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams. Juvenile passage at Wanapum Dam will be accommodated through the dam’s fish

Three spillways at Priest Rapids Dam were modified to create the Priest Rapids Dam Fish Bypass Unit.

bypass unit, spillways and advanced turbines, which all remain functional under the current reservoir elevation. At Priest Rapids Dam, the newly-installed Priest Rapids Fish Bypass is operational in time for the downstream migration.

Construction on the new Priest Rapids Fish Bypass began in 2011, and is built upon the success of the Wanapum Dam fish bypass approximately 19 miles upstream. The bypass design converts three existing spillways into fish slides at Priest Rapids Dam to provide downstream passage for migrating fish in addition to the spillways and turbines. The three chutes are each more than 200 feet long and over 40 feet wide. Collectively, the fish bypass chutes are capable of passing 27,000 cubic feet per second of water and juvenile fish survival is anticipated to be 99 percent.

The bypass unit is designed to safely pass fish over the dam while saving water for generation.

The bypass provides for a better use of water resources by reducing total water spilled for juvenile salmon from 110,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 27,000 cfs. This efficiency allows for an increase in power generation while also improving fish passage. At a cost of $28 million, the project is anticipated to pay for itself in five to seven years with the increased potential for electric generation.

Beginning this week, Grant PUD will begin transporting and releasing approximately 3,400 tagged juvenile steelhead and yearling Chinook salmon approximately 38 miles above Wanapum Dam via helicopter as studies on juvenile fish passage commence. These studies are a component of Grant PUD’s license requirements, specifically the NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion and the Priest Rapids Salmon and Steelhead Settlement Agreement from 2008. The studies will evaluate the survival and behavior of juveniles moving through the new Priest Rapids Dam Fish Bypass as well as fish passage throughout the Priest Rapids Project.

Results from the studies will inform Grant PUD and other agencies of potential impacts on juvenile salmon and steelhead during the low-river conditions. Results will also provide route-specific behavior and survival information through the Wanapum and Priest Rapids dam fish bypasses, spillways and turbines.

Adult fish passage continues through modified fish ladders at Wanapum Dam. As of April 23, 31 adult spring chinook adult salmon and 270 steelhead have been counted exiting the modified fish ladders at Wanapum Dam to continue their upstream migration. Grant PUD continues to trap and haul fish at Priest Rapids Dam while the ladder modifications are being evaluated under operating conditions. As of April 27, 74 spring chinook and 27 steelhead have been captured at Priest Rapids Dam and transported past Wanapum Dam.

The Wanapum reservoir shoreline will remain closed during the current low-reservoir elevations to protect culturally-sensitive areas and for public safety. Grant PUD expects that the shoreline closure will remain in effect at least through the July 4th weekend.

All of the 11 irrigators with surface-water withdrawals on the Wanapum reservoir have successfully acquired permits to modify their irrigation systems. Under the current reservoir elevation, Wanapum Dam continues to generate electricity at about 50 to 60 percent of its capacity and is passing spring runoff flows in coordination with other dam operators on the river.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Fish and Wildlife, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | 1 Comment

April 22, 2014 Preliminary estimate given for Wanapum Dam repairs

Grant PUD’s Board of Commissioners were presented with a preliminary estimate of potential costs associated with repairs to the fracture at Wanapum Dam’s spillway.

The estimate of $61 million, given during the commission meeting today, (April 22) includes all costs associated with: fracture investigation, spillway repairs, fish passage modifications, shoreline protection and power supply costs. The estimate is based on information presently available and may vary depending on results from the analysis into the cause of the fracture and the investigation of the fracture’s geometry, as well as how soon repairs can be completed.

The utility is evaluating how it will use a combination of reserve funds, debt financing and expense reductions to cover the cost of restoring the Wanapum Dam spillway. Staff continues to work with its insurers to explore potential insurance coverage as well.

Grant PUD plans to maintain the current 2 percent rate trajectory adopted by commissioners last December and will consider rate increases as a last resort. Maintaining a strong financial position to ensure long-term low rates for customers continues to be a priority.

Investigative drilling into the spillway has resumed. Grant PUD’s engineering team and the independent board of consultants determined that construction of a platform was no longer required to finish the necessary drilling, which will help determine the geometry of the fracture and will also aid in the repair process. Drilling will now resume from a corridor under the dam’s spillway known as the grout gallery (See spillway X-sect .pdf attached). Once the drilling and the root-cause analysis are finished, Grant PUD will begin making repairs to the spillway. The reservoir level will not be raised to its normal minimum of 562 feet above sea level until the repairs are complete.

Until the reservoir is raised, Grant PUD will continue to rely on modifications to the Wanapum Dam fish ladders for adult fish passage. As of April 21, 188 adult steelhead and 16 spring chinook salmon have been counted safely passing the left bank fish ladder. Tagged adult chinook salmon and steelhead have also been observed traveling from Priest Rapids Dam, then navigating Wanapum Dam’s modified fish ladder, and eventually reaching Rock Island Dam in less than five days.

Modifications to the dam’s right bank ladder are expected to be finished at the end of April. The utility is also working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to trap adult spring chinook salmon and steelhead at Priest Rapids Dam and truck them past Wanapum Dam until the fish ladder modifications are proven under working conditions.

The Wanapum reservoir shoreline is closed to the public and will stay closed until the reservoir is raised to minimum normal operating levels, likely beyond July 4th. All Grant PUD and WDFW shoreline access points are closed, including boat launches and recreation areas. The closure is necessary to protect sensitive cultural areas and for public safety.

The utility has reopened the Wanapum Lower Boat Launch and day-use park near Wanapum Dam. The Wanapum Heritage Center remains closed, however.

During the low-reservoir condition, Grant PUD is accelerating scheduled work on Wanapum reservoir boat launches to reduce environmental impacts and expenses. Work began on the Kittitas County Boat Launch on April 21 and work is scheduled for the Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch.

Wanapum Dam continues to generate electricity at about 50 to 60 percent of its current capacity and is passing spring runoff flows in coordination with other dam operators on the river.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | 1 Comment

04/16/14 First of spring chinook swim safely past Wanapum and Rock Island dams

Initial data reveals fish ladder modifications are effective

Beverly, WA – Initial results reveal that modifications to Wanapum and Rock Island dam’s fish ladders are allowing safe passage to upstream migrating adult salmon and steelhead. Direct observation studies demonstrate salmon successfully navigating the modified ladder and passing upstream. Most recent fish counts show 31 spring chinook and 102 steelhead successfully exiting the Wanapum Dam left bank fish ladder. These are the first of an anticipated 15,000 spring chinook expected to make their way up the Columbia River to spawning habitat. 36 miles upstream from Wanapum, three steelhead and eight whitefish have passed Rock Island Dam ladders since official fish counts began this week.

Two additional evaluation techniques will assist in the active monitoring of adult passage in the coming days. These techniques include tagging 250 hatchery-program adult spring chinook salmon at Priest Rapids Dam with a combination of computer chips and radio transmitters (known as PIT tags and acoustic tags) and releasing them below Wanapum Dam. The technology allows biologists to monitor the progress of tagged fish as they advance up the river past Wanapum and Rock Island dams. As additional data confirms effective passage the utility hopes to end the trap-and-haul method currently in place at Priest Rapids Dam.

Utility biologists and engineers are confident that results will continue to affirm that modifications installed at both dams allow for safe and effective fish passage. Both

hydroelectric facilities have safely passed fish for more than 50 years and believe these early results are an indication of what will likely be another successful passage season.

Since the onset of the Wanapum Spillway incident a collaborative group comprised of representatives from The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Yakama Nation, The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, The Wanapum Band of Priest Rapids, NOAA Fisheries, WDFW, USFWS, Chelan PUD and Grant PUD have been working to identify innovative ways to safely pass fish. The solutions in place are a result of their efforts.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response or “Fish Counts” on Chelan PUDs home page https://www.chelanpud.org/fish-counts.cfm

###END###

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Thomas Stredwick; Grant PUD Public Affairs
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org<mailto:publicaffairs@grantpud.org>

Suzanne Hartman; Chelan PUD Public Affairs

(509) 661-8291 / suzanne.hartman@chelanpud.org

Posted in Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

April 15, 2014: Grant and Chelan PUDs ready for adult chinook spring runs

Fish hauling program begins at Priest Rapids Dam and Rock Island location 1 fish ladder  extension completed

Quincy, WA – Modifications of the left-bank fish ladder at Wanapum Dam and location 1 on the right bank of Rock Island Dam are now in place for migrating adult fish. The installation of pumps, a weir box and an exit flume at the fish ladder are all complete at Wanapum. At Rock Island, two 30-foot denil baffled extensions were added to the existing fish ladder with a resting pool in between the extensions. About 80-percent of fish at migrating past Wanapum Dam use the left-bank ladder and about 70 percent of the migrating fish use the right side of Rock Island Dam. Modifications on the right-bank ladder at Wanapum are expected to be finished next week, as is location 2 on the right bank of Rock Island Dam.

Upon request from stakeholders and agencies, Grant PUD and the Washington

Workers complete the installation of the exit flume at Grant PUD’s Wanapum Dam left-bank fish ladder last week. The flume provides fish exiting the ladder a gradual descent into the lowered reservoir behind the dam. The vanes on the flume are designed to turn the fish forward so they go down head first and to prevent the fish from jumping off the flume.

Department of Fish and Wildlife began a program today (Tuesday, April 15, 2014) to trap migrating adult spring chinook salmon at Priest Rapids Dam and haul them above Wanapum Dam until the ladder modifications are evaluated under working conditions. For Rock Island Dam, the fish ladders are ready for the arriving adults. The extensions are deemed necessary for the expected low river elevations on the downstream side of the dam later this season.

Using the modified Off-ladder Adult Fish Trap at Priest Rapids Dam — a facility that until now was used to primarily trap adult steelhead and sockeye salmon — experienced WDFW workers, under contract with Grant PUD, will capture returning spring chinook and haul them in specially-designed tanker trucks up the river to designated release points above Wanapum Dam.

About 15,000 spring chinook are expected to come through Priest Rapids Dam this year, with as many as 1,500 arriving per day during peak times. If necessary, Grant PUD can trap and haul every spring chinook expected at Priest Rapids Dam this year. However, the trap-and-haul process will not accommodate the summer and fall salmon and steelhead runs, with as many as 12,000 fish arriving in a single day.

The new 30-foot denil baffle fish ladder component for Chelan PUDs Rock Island Dam.

The utility expects that the Wanapum Dam fish ladder modifications will prove to be an effective method for fish passage. To test the modified fish ladders, 150 hatchery-program adult spring chinook salmon captured at Priest Rapids Dam will be tagged with computer chips and radio transmitters (known as PIT tags and acoustic tags) before being released below Wanapum Dam. The progress of the tagged fish will be monitored as they advance up the river and past the fish ladders at Wanapum and Rock Island dams. The test data will be used to prove the effectiveness of the ladder modifications. When the ladders are proven effective, the trap-and-haul procedure will end.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response or www.chelanpud.org “Wanapum Response” on the home page.

###END###

Chelan County PUD was established in 1936 by a vote of country residents and delivered its first electricity in 1947.  Rock Island Dam was the first hydroelectric generating plant on the Columbia River.  Chelan’s three hydroelectric dams, 2050 miles of power lines and 42 substations deliver, clean, low cost, renewable electricity to Chelan County residents and to customers of utilities across the Northwest. The District also provides local water, wastewater and wholesale telecommunication services. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at chelanpud.org

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org<http://www.grantpud.org> or follow us on Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/#!/GrantCountyPUD?bookmark_t=page> and Twitter<https://twitter.com/#!/GrantPUD>.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Thomas Stredwick; Grant PUD Public Affairs
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org<mailto:publicaffairs@grantpud.org>

Suzanne Hartman; Chelan PUD Public Affairs

(509) 661-8291

suzanne.hartman@chelanpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Uncategorized, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | 1 Comment

April 9, 2014: Foundation not a contributing factor in dam fracture

BEVERLY, Wash. – The foundation below Wanapum Dam was not a factor in creating the fracture discovered on the dam’s spillway pier monolith No. 4.

The team of engineers and analysts has determined that the fracture was not caused by:

  1. Seismic activity
  2. Foundation settlement or uplift
  3. Activities at the U.S. Army’s Yakima Training Center
  4. Operation of the spillway gates

Data is showing that a contributing factor to the fracture was tension from water pressure on the face of the spillway pier monolith. Grant PUD is working to determine how the tension caused the fracture.

The fracture was detected by divers on Feb. 27, three days after a worker at the dam noticed that the top of the spillway pier had shifted slightly downstream. When the reservoir behind the dam was drawn down, the pressure on the spillway was reduced and the fracture closed, stabilizing the monolith.

Grant PUD will continue to evaluate and examine the spillway. Six holes have been drilled into the monolith and more holes are planned to determine the geometry of the fracture. The drilling has been temporarily suspended while the utility assesses the best way to complete the task. When finished, the drilling will identify the reach of the fracture into the monolith.

It is anticipated that the drilling and the root cause analysis will be completed by June. These tasks must both be accomplished before necessary repairs are made to stabilize the spillway. Grant PUD will not raise the reservoir to an intermediate level until the stabilizing repairs are finished.

The Wanapum reservoir shoreline will remain closed to the public until the water level is elevated to the intermediate level. All Grant PUD and Department of Fish and Wildlife shoreline access points on the Wanapum shoreline are closed, including boat launches and recreation areas. The closure is necessary to protect sensitive cultural areas and for public safety.

The utility continues to work on modifications to the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam. The modifications are on track for a completion date of April 15. Upon request from stakeholders, including tribes and agencies, Grant PUD will trap migrating spring Chinook salmon at Priest Rapids Dam and then haul them in trucks to release them in the Wanapum reservoir until the fish-ladder modifications have been evaluated under working conditions.

Grant PUD continues to provide information for irrigators affected by the drawdown as they seek permits to modify their irrigation systems. Wanapum Dam is generating electricity at between 50 to 60 percent of its capacity. The dam will be able to accommodate spring runoff flows in coordination with other dams operating on the Columbia River.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

#                                                          #

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | 1 Comment

4-01-14 Drilling work continues at Wanapum Dam

BEVERLY, Wash. – A drilling team has completed six investigative holes into the Wanapum Dam spillway pier monolith No. 4 as part of the forensic examination of a fracture found in the structure on Feb. 27.

Workers observe the drilling of an exploratory hole into Wanapum Dam’s spillway pier monolith No. 4, as water flows from the fracture into the drill hole. A water-proof membrane has since been installed in front of the fractured area to prevent such flows.

Drilling will resume after a larger platform is constructed on the monolith to support the workers and their equipment. Windy weather has created delays in the drilling process. All work on the monolith, which is only accessible by boat or crane, must stop in wind gusts that are more than 35 miles per hour. The platform construction and drilling is expected to take about three to four weeks without significant wind delays. The drilling will help determine the geometry of the fracture and how far it reaches into the monolith.

Grant PUD is on track with modifications to the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam. Workers are currently installing pumps in the dam’s two fish ladders and will install weirs and flumes to help migrating fish navigate to the top of the ladders and then to the reservoir behind the dam. Grant PUD lowered the Wanapum reservoir in elevation by 26 feet to stabilize spillway pier monolith No. 4. This action made the fish ladders inoperable without the modifications.

Work on the fish ladders is expected to be completed by April 15, which is the start of the spring Chinook salmon run. At the request of agencies and stakeholders, Grant PUD now plans to initially trap fish at Priest Rapids Dam and haul them in trucks before releasing them above Wanapum or Rock Island dams during the first few weeks of the fish run while the effectiveness of the ladder modifications are evaluated.

Equipment for exploratory drilling into Wanapum Dam’s spillway pier monolith No. 4 is viewed from the spillway deck.

Grant PUD has accelerated plans for boat launch improvements during the reservoir drawdown, which decreases cost and environmental impacts by doing work in the dry. New estimates show that the utility will save nearly $1 million for improvements to the Kittitas Boat Launch and Frenchman Coulee recreation sites near Vantage after competitive bids were submitted last week. Completing the work during the reservoir drawdown reduces estimated costs by approximately 50 percent. Grant PUD is also looking into the possibility of performing similar work in other locations, pending approval from regulatory agencies.

The Wanapum shoreline remains closed during the low-reservoir conditions because of safety hazards and to protect culturally sensitive sites. Grant PUD expresses its appreciation for the public’s patience and understanding.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Grant PUD plans recreation improvements

Grant PUD Commissioners voted today to accelerate plans for scheduled improvements to Wanapum reservoir boat launches during low-elevation conditions, pending regulatory approval.

The Wanapum reservoir has been drawn down by about 26 feet since a fracture was discovered in one of Wanapum Dam’s spillway pier monoliths on Feb. 27. Under the low-water conditions, boat launches on the reservoir are all well above the water-line. By accelerating the timeline for the improvements, Grant PUD can reduce costs and environmental impacts.

Grant PUD plans to conduct an abbreviated competitive bidding process for work scheduled for the Kittitas Boat Launch and the Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch. The work includes dredging, shoreline excavations, pre-cast concrete ramp installation, pile driving and slope stabilization. The cost savings for work on the two launches is estimated to be about $425,000. The utility is also looking into the possibility of performing similar work in other locations, pending approval from regulatory agencies.

The investigative drilling at Wanapum Dam continues, which is part of the forensic examination to determine the geometry of the fracture. Fish-ladder modifications are ongoing for a completion date of April 15. A team of experts is also performing an analysis of the cause of the fracture. When the analysis is complete and the geometry of the fracture is known, Grant PUD will proceed with a plan to repair the structure.

Growers are reporting they have made necessary modifications and received permits to water about two-thirds of the 1,200 orchard acres irrigated by the Wanapum reservoir. Grant PUD continues to work with the remaining irrigators to provide them with needed information as they seek approval from permitting agencies.

The Wanapum shoreline remains closed during the low-reservoir conditions because of safety hazards. Shoreline patrols and law enforcement agencies reported few incidents over the past weekend. Grant PUD expresses its appreciation for the public’s patience and understanding.

For additional information, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Grantpud.org webpage has Wanapum spillway updates and information

Grant PUD has established a page on its website devoted to the Wanapum Dam spillway response. The page: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response can be found by clicking on the link on the home page of the grantpud.org website.

Links to press releases, photos and background information are all located on the web page, along with updates whenever new information becomes available.

Conditions at the dam and on the Wanapum reservoir shoreline remain unchanged as utility staff, contractors, consultants and regulators continue to examine spillway pier monolith No. 4, which was discovered to have a fracture on Feb. 27. The Wanapum reservoir has been temporarily drawn down in response to the fracture. The shoreline and reservoir, including all public-access points, remain closed in the interest of public safety. Grant PUD is working to address other issues resulting from the drawdown including modification of the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam and providing technical assistance to reservoir irrigators.

As the Wanapum Dam spillway response continues, Grant PUD is adjusting its schedule for news releases. Regular updates will be issued weekly on Mondays. However, the utility will provide more frequent updates on the situation whenever significant developments are made toward achieving its goal of restoring Wanapum Dam to normal operations.

These updates will be posted on the webpage mentioned above and released to local and regional media.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Community, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Average spring runoff predicted for Mid-Columbia and Wanapum Dam

While Grant PUD continues to address the fracture discovered in one of Wanapum Dam’s spillway pier monoliths, the facility remains an operational hydropower plant.

Under current conditions, the dam is capable of generating 400 megawatts of electricity. The upcoming spring runoff will pass through turbines, operational spillway gates and the fish bypass unit. Latest projections show that water flows on the Columbia River this year are anticipated to be 101 percent of normal.

Grant PUD will continue to coordinate with operators of other dams on the Columbia River during the spring runoff season to maintain the reduced elevation of the Wanapum reservoir. The reservoir was drawn down after a fracture was discovered in Wanapum Dam’s spillway pier monolith No. 4 on Feb. 27. The reduced river level will remain during the ongoing examination of the affected monolith.

All of the Wanapum reservoir shoreline remains closed because of the hazardous low-water conditions, including all public-access points, as well as public facilities at Wanapum Dam. Law enforcement agencies, security contractors and Grant PUD employees are actively patrolling the closed areas. Grant PUD is working with irrigators affected by the Wanapum reservoir drawdown. The utility is also working with stakeholders and regulatory agencies to develop plans so the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam are operating by the start of the fish-migration season in mid-April.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Drilling platform planned for Wanapum Dam

BEVERLY, Wash. – Grant PUD contractor Kuney-Goebel JV is designing a drilling platform for Wanapum Dam spillway pier monolith No. 4. The platform will be used to conduct investigative drilling to determine the geometry of the fracture that was discovered in the structure on Feb. 27.

After initial drilling tests last week were delayed because of weather conditions, Grant PUD and contractors determined that constructing the platform was necessary. The drilling will resume once the temporary platform is installed.

The utility continues to investigate the cause of the fracture and is modeling and testing the spillway to determine how best to repair the structure and to begin raising the Wanapum reservoir, which was drawn down in response to the fracture.

All of the Wanapum reservoir shoreline remains closed, including Grant PUD and WDFW public-access boat launches, recreation sites and beaches. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park also remain closed. Deputies from Grant, Kittitas, Douglas and Chelan county sheriff’s offices, as well as officers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, are now under contract to join Grant PUD in patrolling the closed Wanapum reservoir shoreline.

Grant PUD continues to work with irrigators affected by the Wanapum reservoir drawdown. Affected irrigators can access information from the Department of Ecology on a web page devoted to the situation at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/dams/wanapum.html. The utility is also working with stakeholders and regulatory agencies to develop plans so the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam are operating by the start of the fish migration season in mid-April.

Under the low reservoir conditions, Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce this time of year. However, Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Law enforcement is actively patrolling Wanapum shoreline

BEVERLY, Wash. – Deputies from Grant, Kittitas, Douglas and Chelan county sheriff’s offices, as well as officers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, are now under contract to join Grant PUD in patrolling the closed Wanapum reservoir shoreline.

All of the Wanapum reservoir shoreline is closed, including Grant PUD and WDFW public-access boat launches, recreation sites and beaches. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park also remain closed.

Enhanced patrols are necessary to secure the shoreline and reservoir, which have been closed since March 5 after the low-reservoir conditions proved to be too dangerous to allow public access. The deputies and WDFW officers are actively enforcing laws prohibiting trespassing and disturbing culturally-sensitive areas.

Facilitating safe public recreation on the Wanapum reservoir is one of Grant PUD’s goals as it moves forward in its response to the situation at Wanapum Dam. A fracture was discovered on one of the dam’s spillway pier monoliths on Feb. 27, necessitating a drawdown of the reservoir to stabilize the structure.

The utility has reopened public-access sites on the Priest Rapids reservoir, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Dam Overlook is also open.

Grant PUD is working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Ecology to ensure that irrigators with land-use authorizations for surface-water withdrawals from the Wanapum reservoir have the information and technical assistance they need to prepare for the upcoming irrigation season. Affected irrigators can access information from the Department of Ecology on a web page devoted to the situation at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/dams/wanapum.html.

An evaluation of Wanapum Dam’s spillway pier monolith No. 4 is underway, with Grant PUD and contractors conducting studies to determine the fracture’s geometry. The evaluation is expected to continue through next week. Once complete, the utility, along with an independent board of consultants and officials from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will use the data to determine the best way to begin repairing the dam and raising the level of the reservoir.

Grant PUD Fisheries and engineering staff are working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries and US Fish and Wildlife Service representatives to develop plans to modify the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam to allow migrating salmon and steelhead to safely pass the dam when the adult spring Chinook salmon run begins in mid-April.

Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Grant PUD working with Ecology to assist irrigators affected by drawdown

Grant PUD working with Ecology to assist irrigators affected by drawdown

BEVERLY, Wash. – Grant PUD is working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Ecology to ensure that irrigators with land-use authorizations for surface-water withdrawals from the Wanapum reservoir have information and technical assistance they need to prepare for the upcoming irrigation season.

The Wanapum reservoir level is temporarily drawn down to take pressure off a spillway pier monolith discovered to have a fracture on Feb. 27. The 11 orchard irrigators affected by the reservoir drawdown have been contacted individually by Grant PUD. Affected irrigators can access information from the Department of Ecology on a web page devoted to the situation at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/dams/wanapum.html.

Grant PUD continues working with the sheriff’s offices of Grant, Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas counties to enforce the closure of the Wanapum reservoir shoreline to the public. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has also closed its public-access sites on the shoreline and has increased patrol efforts. Sections of the shoreline, including the riverbank and mud flats are extremely unstable and have proven to be a serious safety hazard. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park remain closed.

An evaluation of Wanapum Dam’s spillway pier monolith No. 4 is underway, with Grant PUD and contractors conducting studies to determine the fracture’s geometry. The evaluation is expected to continue through next week. Once complete, the utility, along with an independent board of consultants and officials from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will use the data to determine the best way to begin repairing the dam and raising the level of the reservoir.

Fish biologists, engineers, and stakeholders are developing plans to modify the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam to allow migrating salmon and steelhead to safely pass the dam when the adult spring Chinook salmon run begins in mid-April.

Facilitating safe public recreation on the reservoir is one of Grant PUD’s goals as it moves forward in its response to the situation at Wanapum Dam. The utility has reopened public-access sites on the Priest Rapids reservoir, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Dam Overlook is also open.

Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Contractor hired to help with Wanapum Dam spillway pier evaluation

BEVERLY, Wash. – Grant PUD plans to work with contractor Kuney-Goebel JV and subcontractors to begin investigative drilling into Wanapum Dam spillway pier monolith No. 4 on Thursday. A fracture was discovered in the monolith on Feb. 27.

The precise-drilling project is expected to take about nine days to complete. It is part of an extensive evaluation being conducted on the structure to help determine the cause of the fracture and its geometry. Data from the examination will be used by a team of Grant PUD engineers, an independent board of consultants, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission officials to determine the best way to repair the structure and possibly raise the elevation of the Wanapum reservoir to an intermediate level during the restoration phase.

No additional damage to the dam was found during a thorough inspection, other than some minor surface damage on spillways neighboring monolith No. 4.

To repair spillway pier No. 4, Grant PUD is exploring the possibility of using steel strand anchors that are drilled from the top of the dam through the concrete structure into bedrock. The steel strand anchors would be set into place with a specialized, high-strength grout. Data from the ongoing evaluation of the structure will help determine if this process would be an effective way to repair the spillway pier. The independent board of consultants and FERC will also evaluate the data and must approve any action before it is implemented by Grant PUD.

Along with the forensic evaluation of spillway pier No. 4, fish biologists, engineers, and stakeholders are developing plans to modify the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam. The modifications include installing a pumping system and creating temporary slides at the top of the fish ladders so returning adult salmon and steelhead can safely pass the dam and into the drawn-down reservoir.

Grant PUD is working with 11 irrigators who have land-use authorizations for surface-water withdrawals from the reservoir. The utility continues to work with Chelan PUD and other dam operators on the Columbia River, along with federal, state and local agencies, as well as tribes and other stakeholders impacted by the drawdown.

The Wanapum reservoir shoreline and boat launches remain temporarily closed to the public. Sections of the shoreline, including the riverbank and mud flats are extremely unstable and have proven to be a serious safety hazard. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park also remain closed. Grant PUD has posted signs informing the public of the shoreline closure and is actively monitoring the area. The utility has contracted with state and local law enforcement to patrol the reservoir shoreline on land and on the water. Also the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed their properties on the shoreline and has increased their patrol efforts.

Facilitating safe public recreation on the reservoir is one of Grant PUD’s goals as it moves forward in its response to the situation at Wanapum Dam. The utility has reopened public-access sites on the Priest Rapids reservoir, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Dam Overlook is also open.

Grant PUD plans to work with river stakeholders to explore the possibility of moving up the timetable for scheduled modifications to the Kittitas County Boat Launch at Vantage and the Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch, and dredging of the Crescent Bar boating channel during the low-level reservoir conditions.

Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Extensive examination of Wanapum Dam monolith is underway

BEVERLY, Wash. – Grant PUD is working with engineering consultants to conduct a forensic analysis over the coming weeks on the cause of the fracture discovered Feb. 27 on one of the spillway pier monoliths at Wanapum Dam.

Methods used during the analysis include precise drilling into the monolith, ground-penetrating radar and echo-imaging technology. Utilizing each form of technology allows the utility to determine the location and geometry of the fracture. Experts from the utility, a board of independent consultants and officials from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will use the data from the investigation to determine how best to move forward to repair the structure and possibly raise the elevation of the Wanapum reservoir to an intermediate level during the restoration phase.

Grant PUD continues to address the effects of the current reservoir level. Fish biologists and engineers, along with stakeholders, are developing plans to modify the fish ladders at Wanapum Dam so returning adult salmon and steelhead can safely pass the dam. Staff is working with 11 irrigators who have land-use authorizations for surface water withdrawals from the reservoir to help determine their best course of action to prepare for the irrigation season. The utility is also working with Chelan PUD and other dam operators on the Columbia River, along with federal, state and local agencies, as well as tribes and other stakeholders impacted by the drawdown.

Grant PUD is examining how the temporary reservoir level is currently affecting recreation and is determining how best to proceed with scheduled upgrades to boat launches and other facilities.

The Wanapum reservoir shoreline and boat launches remain temporarily closed to the public. Sections of the shoreline, including the riverbank and mud flats are extremely unstable and have proven to be a serious safety hazard. The utility has posted signs informing the public of the shoreline closure and is actively patrolling the area. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park also remain closed. State and local law enforcement agencies will be notified whenever anyone is observed trespassing in areas closed to the public.

Facilitating safe public recreation on the reservoir is one of Grant PUD’s goals as it moves forward in its response to the situation at Wanapum Dam. The utility has reopened public-access sites on the Priest Rapids reservoir, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Dam Overlook is also open.

Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Grant PUD investigates Wanapum spillway and responds to the effects of reservoir drawdown

March 10- Grant PUD is actively studying options to repair the fractured section of Wanapum Dam. A team of utility engineers, consultants and regulatory officials worked through the weekend to continue to identify what caused the fracture and potential options for repair.

The utility is addressing how to safely pass salmon and steelhead past the dam, if the current reservoir drawdown continues into the migration season, which begins in April. Experts are developing plans to provide upstream passage for adult salmon and steelhead by modifying the two Wanapum Dam fish ladders. The utility is also evaluating plans to transport adult fish around the reservoir. Even at current reservoir levels, downstream juvenile fish passage will occur as it has in the past.

There are 10 irrigators with land-use authorizations for surface-water withdrawals from the Wanapum reservoir. The utility has begun to communicate with them individually to ensure they are aware of the potential impacts to their water supply because of the drawdown. Staff is assessing each individual’s situation to help them determine their best course of action.

The Wanapum reservoir shoreline and boat launches remain closed to the public. Sections of the shoreline, including the riverbank and mud flats are extremely unstable and have proven to be a serious safety hazard. The utility has posted signs informing the public of the shoreline closure and is actively patrolling the area. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park also remain closed. State and local law enforcement agencies will be notified whenever anyone is observed trespassing in areas closed to the public.

The utility has reopened public-access sites on the Priest Rapids reservoir, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Dam Overlook is also open.

Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Grant PUD is studying fish passage options at Wanapum Dam

BEVERLY, Wash. – Grant PUD is actively studying options to safely pass adult and juvenile salmon and steelhead past Wanapum Dam if the current drawdown of the Wanapum reservoir continues into the migration season.

Adult upstream passage begins in April and continues into mid-November. Juvenile salmon and steelhead begin to swim downstream around the third week of April. In the event that water remains low into the migration season, options to provide upstream passage include modifications to existing Wanapum Dam fish ladders as well as the potential to trap and haul fish via trucks around the reservoir.

At current water levels, the Wanapum Fish Bypass would be operational, allowing juvenile salmon and steelhead to safely pass over the dam. The utility will continue to coordinate with partner agencies, tribes and Chelan PUD to determine the best options moving forward.

With the impacted portion of the dam now stable, Grant PUD staff, consultants and regulators are developing a plan to determine the root cause of the spillway monolith fracture, which was discovered on Feb. 27, and how best to repair the structure.

The utility has reopened public-access sites below Wanapum Dam, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, the Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park remain closed. However, the Wanapum Dam Overlook is open.

Working under the authority of its federal license, the utility has temporarily closed the Wanapum reservoir shoreline. Article 18 of the utility’s operating license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission states that Grant PUD … may reserve from public access such portions of the project waters, adjacent lands, and project facilities as may be necessary for the protection of life, health and property.

Only authorized personnel are allowed access to the Wanapum reservoir shoreline. Sections of the shoreline, including the riverbank and mud flats are extremely unstable and have proven to be a serious safety hazard.

The utility continues to post signs informing the public of the shoreline closure and is actively working to patrol the area. State and local law enforcement agencies will be notified whenever anyone is observed trespassing in areas closed to the public. All boat launches on the Wanapum reservoir are closed to the public.

Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.

#                                                          #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Shoreline exposed by Wanapum reservoir drawdown is closed to public

On Wednesday, March 5, Grant PUD closed the shoreline exposed by the drawdown of the reservoir behind Wanapum Dam. Only authorized personnel are allowed access to the shoreline below the high-water mark of the reservoir.

The utility is posting signs notifying the public of this action and is actively working to patrol the shoreline. State and local law enforcement agencies will be notified whenever anyone is observed trespassing on PUD lands. Sections of the shoreline, including the riverbank and mud flats are extremely unstable and pose a serious safety hazard. Along with the exposed shoreline areas, boat launches on the Wanapum and Priest Rapids dam reservoirs are all closed to the public. The Wanapum Dam Overlook, which is operated by Grant PUD, remains open to the public.

The utility continues to work with experts and regulators to determine the best course of action to repair the fractured spillway monolith at the dam. On March 4, Grant PUD lowered its Emergency Action Plan classification to a “non-failure emergency.”

The downgrade came as a result of engineering surveys conducted earlier this week that show the fractured area found on one of the dam’s spillways is now stable. The damage was first discovered on Feb. 24 by a dam worker who noticed a section of the spillway deck had shifted slightly. Utility engineers then examined the area and found that one of the spillway pier monoliths had moved 2 inches out of alignment.

Divers inspecting the spillway on Feb. 27 discovered a horizontal fracture about 2 inches wide at the base of the monolith. To take pressure off the damaged spillway pier, the utility began to draw down the reservoir behind the dam by about 26 feet. On March 4, survey results showed the impacted area was stable, the fracture had closed and the pier had shifted back into its normal position by 1.75 inches. The utility has continued to monitor the area and has found no further movement since March 4.

Grant PUD remains able to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam continues to generate about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@grantpud.org

Posted in Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Emergency classification lowered at Wanapum Dam

BEVERLY, Wash. – Last night, Grant PUD lowered its Emergency Action Plan classification for the Wanapum Dam spillway incident to a “non-failure emergency.” The utility had been operating under the condition of a “developing failure” since February 28.

Grant PUD’s Emergency Action Plan (EAP) includes the notification procedures in the event of a “non-failure emergency” at Wanapum Dam, including situations that would necessitate the utility maintaining low water levels behind the dam to prevent a more serious emergency. The EAP describes the initial roles and responsibilities of Grant PUD personnel and other agencies based on the capabilities of each agency to respond in the event of an emergency situation at Wanapum Dam.

The news of a downgrade comes as a result of engineering surveys conducted March 3 and 4 that show continued stabilization of the fractured area found on one of the dam’s spillways. As of 6 p.m. last night, survey results show that the impacted area is stable. The fracture has closed and the damaged section of the spillway monolith has moved back upstream by nearly 1.75-inches as a result of the utility’s actions to lower water above Wanapum Dam and reduce pressure on the damaged spillway.

Grant PUD remains able to meet customer electricity needs with its current power supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam continues to generate electricity, yet at a reduced rate. Under normal river conditions, and considering that three of the dam’s 10 turbines are offline because of maintenance and turbine replacement, the dam has the capacity to generate roughly 700 megawatts. Given the drawdown in the water levels behind Wanapum Dam, capacity has been reduced to approximately 360 megawatts.

The drawdown of the Columbia River is a stabilizing measure taken after divers inspecting the condition of the spillway portion of Wanapum Dam discovered a 2-inch wide horizontal crack across one of the dam’s 65-foot spillways on Thursday, Feb. February 27.

A spillway is the portion of the dam that allows water to “spill” past the dam as opposed to running through the turbines. The spillway consists of multiple, independent structural sections that support the spillway gates. In a worst case scenario, if one or two of the spillway gates failed, the remaining spillway gates and the powerhouse would remain intact. After drawing down the level of water behind Wanpum Dam, if two of the dam’s 12 spillway sections failed now, the amount of water that would flow through the spillway sections is 100,000 cubic feet of water per second. This amount of water is significantly less than under normal operations and would be within the range of average river flow, approximately 120,000 cubic feet per second.

At this time, all boat launches on the Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs remain closed because of the low river elevation. The Wanapum Heritage Center and the day-use park at Wanapum Dam are also closed at this time.

#                                                                         #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Thomas Stredwick

(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Wanapum Dam Spillway Presentation to Grant PUD Commissioners

Wanapum Dam Spillway Board Presentation

Posted in Community, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Uncategorized, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Wanapum Dam stabilizing following drawdown

Wanapum Dam stabilizing following drawdown

BEVERLY, Wash. – Engineering surveys taken on Monday, March 3 at Wanapum Dam show that the cracked area found on one the dam’s spillways is stabilizing. As of yesterday, the crack had closed by nearly an inch, and the damaged section of the spillway monolith moved back upstream by approximately 1 inch. These measurements confirm that the section is becoming more stable as a result of lowering the water level behind the dam. Additional alignment measurements will be taken today.

Water levels behind Wanapum Dam are at their lowest today around 543 – 545 feet above sea level. Water levels for the dam at this time of the year are normally around 570 – 571.5 feet.

Although reservoir levels are at historic lows and the exposed shoreline is of interest to the public, we remind those that visit the shoreline during this time not to damage or disturb the shoreline area. Recreational vehicle activity along the shoreline is prohibited. We are partnering with law enforcement agencies to enforce state and federal laws, which prohibit removing, altering, digging into or excavating any archeological object or site along the exposed shoreline.

Wanapum Dam continues to generate electricity. All boat launches on the Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs are currently unavailable because of the low river elevation. The Wanapum Heritage Center and the day-use park at Wanapum Dam are also closed at this time.

The drawdown of the Columbia River is a stabilizing measure taken after divers inspecting the condition of the spillway portion of Wanapum Dam discovered a 2-inch wide horizontal crack across one of the dam’s 65-foot spillways on Feb. 26.

A spillway is the portion of the dam that allows water to “spill” past the dam as opposed to running through the turbines. The spillway consists of multiple, independent structural sections that support the spillway gates. Each of Wanapum Dam’s 12 spillway gates are capable of passing roughly 63,000 cubic feet of water per second based on current river conditions. In a worst case scenario, if one of the spillway sections failed, the remainder of the spillways and the main dam structure would remain intact. Under current conditions, the amount of water that would flow through this section of the dam would be within the range of normal river conditions.

Grant PUD continues to work in conjunction with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as well as upstream dam operators and stakeholders to monitor and evaluate this incident. Public safety and the safe operation of the dam is the utility’s top priority.

For up-to-date information on this issue, please visit grantpud.org

# #
Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035 / publicaffairs@gcpud.org

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases, Wanapum Dam Spillway Response | Leave a comment

Public workshops planned for proposed shoreline procedures and standards

EPHRATA, Wash. – Grant PUD will hold two public workshops to share plans and receive input on proposed shoreline procedures and standards it will use to permit and monitor non-exclusive, private uses on PUD-owned shoreline on the Columbia River.

The workshops are scheduled for:
• March 10 – Quincy, 6:30 p.m. at Grant County Fire District 3 Station, 1201 Central Ave. S.
• March 25 – PUD Hydro Engineering Building, 6:30 p.m. at 15655 Wanapum Village Lane, Beverly WA 99321.

It’s important to note that these workshops are for proposed shoreline procedures and standards as they pertain to the utility’s Shoreline Management Plan. They do not have anything to do with the crack in the Wanapum Dam spillway or the recent drawdown of the Wanapum reservoir.

During the workshops, there will be an opportunity to learn about the proposed procedures and standards, ask questions of PUD employees and give input on the proposals. Information about the proposal and links to public comment forms are available at: www.grantpud.org.

Following the public process, the new standards and guidelines are expected to take effect in early 2015, upon Grant PUD approval of Public Recreation Development Plans.

Development of new Public Recreation Development Plans for three shoreline communities (Sunland Estates, Vantage and Desert Aire) will be finalized in the coming year to provide additional guidance and clarification. Fees, monitoring and inspections schedules, permit procedures and application requirements are all included. Plans specify the type of uses subject to fees, which include but are not limited to: boat launches, docks, paths, fencing/barriers, landscaping or plantings, buoys, special events, camping, water-intakes, etc.
# #

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Chuck Allen
(509) 766-2513 / callen@gcpud.org

Posted in Community, Natural Resources, Press Releases | Leave a comment

Drawdown of Columbia River continues in support of work on Wanapum Dam

BEVERLY, Wash. – Drawdown of the water behind Wanapum Dam will continue until

The crack is at the bottom of the fourth spillway pier from the left in this photo.

roughly 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 4 as crews work towards stabilizing the crack found on a spillway section of the dam. Once the drawdown is complete, the river will be the lowest it has been since the reservoir was filled in 1964.
Grant PUD continues to work in conjunction with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as well as upstream dam operators and stakeholders to monitor and evaluate this incident. Public safety and the safe operation of the dam is the utility’s top priority.
Although river levels are low and of interest to the public, we remind those that visit the shoreline during this time that activities that damage or disturb the shoreline are not allowed. Recreational vehicle activity along the shoreline is strictly prohibited. We are partnering with land management agencies to enforce state and federal laws, which prohibit looting of the shoreline.
Wanapum Dam continues to generate electricity. All boat launches on the Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs are currently unavailable because of the low river elevation. The Wanapum Heritage Center and the day-use park at Wanapum Dam are also closed at this time.
The drawdown of the Columbia River is a precautionary measure taken after divers inspecting the condition of the spillway portion of Wanapum Dam discovered a 65-foot long by 2-inch wide horizontal crack across one of the dam’s spillways on Feb. 26.
A spillway is the portion of the dam that allows water to “spill” past the dam as opposed to running through the turbines. The spillway consists of multiple, independent structural sections that support the spillway gates. Each of Wanapum Dam’s 12 spillway gates are capable of passing roughly 80,000 cubic feet of water per second based on current river conditions. In a worst case scenario, if one of the spillway sections failed, the remainder of the spillways and the main dam structure would remain intact. Under current conditions, the amount of water that would flow through this section of the dam would be within the range of normal river conditions.
For up-to-date information on this issue, please visit www.grantpud.org.
# #
Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
MEDIA CONTACT:
Thomas Stredwick
(509) 754-5035 / tstredwick@gcpud.org
Posted in Press Releases, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Experts Monitoring Wanapum Dam

At the top of this image of Wanapum Dam, a slight bend is noticeable in the conduit below the guardrail. This is the anomaly spotted by a Grant PUD employee that resulted in discovery of the crack.

The crack is at the bottom of the fourth spillway pier from the left in this photo.

BEVERLY, Wash. – Working in conjunction with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and independent engineers, Grant PUD continues to inspect and evaluate the crack found on a spillway section at Wanapum Dam on February 27.

Preliminary engineering studies called for a drawdown of the Wanapum Reservoir on the Columbia River as a precautionary measure. By Monday, March 3, water levels above Wanapum Dam (forebay) are anticipated to be 20 feet lower than the normal high operating level to reduce the pressure on the spillway.

A spillway is the portion of the dam that allows water to “spill” past the dam as opposed to running through the turbines. The spillway consists of multiple, independent structural sections that support the spillway gates. Each of Wanapum Dam’s 12 spillway gates are capable of passing roughly 80,000 cubic feet of water per second based on current river conditions. In a worst case scenario, if one of the spillway sections failed, the remainder of the spillways and the main dam structure would remain intact. Under current conditions, the amount of water that would flow through this section of the dam would be within the range of normal river conditions.

The team of engineers and regulatory agency personnel are working through the weekend to provide constant monitoring and on-going evaluation of the area. Public safety is the utility’s paramount concern.

The dam continues to generate electricity without any additional constraints on electric generation except for reduced water levels behind the dam. All boat launches on the Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs are currently unavailable because of the low river elevation.

MEDIA CONTACT: Thomas Stredwick

(509) 793-1571 / tstredwick@grantpud.org

VENDORS PLEASE CALL:

(509) 754-5055

Posted in Community, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, Press Releases | Leave a comment