For reasons unknown to me at the moment, the USBR is letting water flow over the top of Grand Coulee Dam right now. This is a fairly unusual event. That’s not just water, it’s money running over the top, in the form of revenue foregone by the BPA, which can’t sell electricity the dam doesn’t produce with that water power.
If you have a chance, pop down and see it.
The dam is almost a mile across, and the spill is about 300 feet.
Seems that Lake Roosevelt has to drop right now to meet flood control goals. We wouldn’t want Portland to flood, after all. Here is info about current lake operations the USBR published yesterday:
The elevation of Lake Roosevelt was 1280.4 at 10 a.m. on April 9.
It is antipated the elevation will remain around elevation 1280.0 in order to reach the Biological Opinion operating objective of 1279.9 by April 10. Currently, Grand Coulee Dam is being operated to meet flood control elevations.
The flood control levels are the maximum elevation for Lake Roosevelt. Other factors such as power demand or supplying water downstream for fish can result in elevations under the flood control elevations.
The current flood control elevation is as follows:
April 30 – 1258.5 feet
This is only a prediction and can change due to weather events, power demand or other unforeseen power emergencies.
Lake level forecasts are updated by 3 p.m. each day. Please call 1-800-824-4916 for the updated forecast.
Someone just reminded me of this piece on the Grand Coulee Dam area, produced by KXLY TV for their Explorer TV series, in which I was interviewed.
They did a great job of cutting in quick and useful information, and it’s worth a few minutes of your time.
One thing I forgot to mention (one of those “I wish I had said” moments) is that the drive through here on SR 155 is actually the heart of a National Scenic Byway called The Coulee Corridor.
This KXLY video is only offered in Adobe Flash, so it may not play if you’re using a mobile device.
The Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The bottle-cap-shaped building below the dam offers new exhibits designed to entertain and educate with interactive features, such as the jackhammer above. A video game lets you fly right through the dam to explore its features. Hands-on generators let you light up a miniature grid, and you can see the workings of the hydropower units.
One activity needs three to five people (perfect for a family) who sit at a table and listen to the concerns (via prerecorded video) of the many and varied people with interests affected by how the Columbia River is operated. As each player votes on various decisions, the overall plan changes and you’ll find out what your preferences did to the other parties’ interests.
It’s a great Visitor Center with knowledgeable interpreters, plus frequent movies in an upstairs theater to explain history and functions of this multipurpose dam.
I’ve often said that the most enduring legacy from the boomtown days for this community remains a sense of ingenuity. Certainly that’s what marked the contributions of thousands of people who helped design and build the biggest hydroelectric dam in North America.
Emil Gehrke’s windmills, made of what most of us might have called junk, now stand as folk art at North Dam Park, a testament to inventiveness and creativity, and perhaps moving (literally) symbols of the modern ethic of “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.”
Four musical acts spanning a range of tastes will provide the musical foreground for the Festival of America at Grand Coulee Dam July 3 and 4.
From the Cruizers, a popular Spokane band that popular songs, to a country duet, to a 60s folk singer to an Elvis impersonator, the entertainment is tailored to appeal.
– The headliner just before the July 4 Laser Light Show and fireworks, Steve Sogura does a dynamite tribute to Elvis that seems to leave a lot of the audience either up on their feet or swooning.
He’ll start about 8:15 on both July 3 and July 4.
The Cruisers, a popular cover band from Spokane, will entertain from 5 to about 8 p.m. July 3.
– Scott and Kayla, each with talent-show winning gifts in their own rights, team up for some great country music from 5 to 6:30 p.m. July 4.
– A former New Christy Minstrel, William Florian delivers a powerful trip to the 60s with music that will make you feel good. Even if you don’t know who the New Christy Minstrels were, you’ll know their legacy from the rebirth of folk that has influenced much of popular music since.
Entertainment in the park below the Visitor Center is paid for by the town of Coulee Dam’s hotel/motel taxes for the promotion of tourism.
The stage schedule
5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Cruizers
8:15 p.m. Steve Sogura’s Elvis tribute
5 p.m. Scott and Kayla’s country music
6:30 p.m. William Florian’s 60s music
8:15 p.m. Steve Sogura’s Elvis tribute