Visitors using Instagram are always posting how amazed they are when they see Grand Coulee Dam.
“It amazes me how humans built this large, amazing structure more than 80 years ago!” wrote @lishlo this morning in a public post.
The Bureau of Reclamation has produced a top quality documentary on the building of Grand Coulee Dam to show you the amazing story behind the immense effort, the big thinking, innovation and, yes, even politics it took. If you want to visit it, you’ll appreciate it even more if you understand the whole story, so we’ll post the video here, which you can also watch on a big screen in comfortable seats at the Visitor Center when you get here.
Staff from the Colville Tribes Resident Fish (CTRF) program released approximately 5,700 “triploid” rainbow trout ranging from two to three pounds each into Lake Rufus Woods July 31.
The fish, which can be identified by the absence of the adipose fin, are part of a supplementation effort of the Rufus Woods Net Pen Project, which the program’s staff oversees. The CTRF program purchases these fish from a local commercial aquaculture facility. Since 2011, some 118,100 triploid rainbow trout have been released into Lake Rufus Woods. Approximately 48,000 will be released this year alone.
“Normally, fish are diploid and have two sets of chromosomes (one from each parent),” Hatchery Manager Jill Phillips said, explaining the word triploid. “When a treatment of heat or pressure is applied to a fertilized egg prior to a certain egg development stage, the results are triploid or three chromosomes within the cell.”
She said, “Triploid rainbow trout females do not develop eggs. Male triploid rainbow trout sperm is not viable. Basically, both sexes are sterile. Utilizing triploid rainbow trout to supplement fisheries allow managers to mitigate impacts on native fish species.”
“Our overall goal of the CTRF program is to provide a subsistence and recreational fishery on Lake Rufus Woods which remains a popular fishing attraction,” said Bret Nine, resident fisheries manager for CTFW.
All non-members fishing by boat on the boundary waters of the Colville Indian Reservation or from the shore of Lake Rufus Woods at a Designated Fishing Area must have either a valid Colville Indian Reservation Fishing Permit, or a valid fishing license issued by the state of Washington, a tribal press release states. Tribal members must possess a Colville tribal identification card, which is a legal permit to fish.
With Lake Roosevelt about 4 feet from being full, the Bureau of Reclamation expects the lake to rise starting July 3 by up to a half foot each day through the weekend.
Filling the lake lifts accumulated debris off the shores and into the water where it can be dangerous to boaters.
The Bureau of Reclamation is advising people camping along the Lake Roosevelt shoreline over the July 4 weekend to be aware of potential dangers that could exist due to rapidly rising lake levels.
“When camping along the shoreline, it is recommended that tents and other belongings be kept well away from the water’s edge,” said Public Affairs Officer Lynne Brougher. “Although the lake is a popular vacation spot, it is also a working reservoir that supplies water for hydroelectric facilities at Grand Coulee Dam which can result in rapid fluctuations.”
Brougher says campsites that are too close to the water’s edge could potentially become flooded and boats that are not properly anchored or secured could drift out into the lake and become a safety hazard.
Reclamation must adhere to the court-ordered 2008/2010 FCRPS Biological Opinion requiring the lake to be at the full pool elevation of 1,290 feet above sea level between late June and early July. It was at 1,286 feet above sea level Tuesday evening.
For several weeks, a powerful flow of water has been pounding the river below the dam, rushing from one outlet tube in the dam.
It causes a very slight vibration in my nearby home, so that the door between the kitchen and garage emits a high-pitched squeak. I can’t feel it or otherwise detect the vibration, but when I hear that squeak, I know that if I walk out my front door I’ll see that gigantic, thundering water spout.
So how big is it that water spout?
Flow records indicate there’s about 3.9 kcfs shooting out of that tube. That’s 3,900 cubic feet per second, or 29,000 gallons. Every second.
Water weighs something like 8 pounds per gallon, depending on the temperature, so that comes out to 232,000 pounds per second of water, under pressure, pounding the river 150 feet (guessing) below.
That’s impressive, but when you consider the total flow of the river is right now about 160 kcfs you’re only looking at about 2 percent of the river squeezing through that tube. The rest is making power through the generators.
The funny thing is that just watching 2/100ths of the river make an impressive show of power helps me appreciate the tremendous energy of the river tapped by the dam and sent out into the nation.
There actually is a way to get your boat onto Lake Roosevelt, even with all the National Park Service ramps barricaded during the government shutdown.
Bear in mind, ranger staffing on the 131-mile long national recreation area is minimal, so if you go, you’re on your own.
Get your boat on Lake Roosevelt despite govt shutdown.