This is a subtle video of ripple patterns that are happening within the sediment of the White Salmon River where Northwestern Lake used to be. At first, it may look like nothing is happening and that this is a boring video, but watch how the evenly-spaced ripples start to slowly move upstream in unison and then completely dissipate. You can use the stumps on the ground as a reference point. I love to watch one spot in nature and see the patterns that emerge, and this is a rare video that is able to capture some truly bizarre behavior.

Columbia Riverkeeper published a series of different clips of the aftermath of the Condit Dam breach including some arial shots of the mouth of the breached dam, the silty water reaching the Columbia River, and some shots of the initial wave of water rushing down the lower part of the White Salmon. They even come back the next day to shoot some more footage of how the sediment is getting carved out of what used too be Northwestern Lake.

National Geographic just posted the most spectacular series of angles and quality of footage of the Condit Dam breach shot by Andy Maser. It includes some unique angles, and a series of time lapse shots from those various angles.  He shot over a terabyte of images, and will be tracking how the landscape changes over time. You can track his progress over at http://whitesalmontimelapse.wordpress.com/ and I can’t wait to see what else he’s got. He’s also going to be shooting a photo every daylight hour for the next three years, which is a pretty amazing project that he’s collaborating on with Steve Stampfli.

The last of a series of videos looking at the sediment breaking away in a huge chunk. It’s been trapped in Northwestern Lake for 98 years, and the waterfall is slowly moving north and breaking away chunks. PacifiCorp contractors are going to be breaking the sediment that isn’t washed downstream by the White Salmon River up as part of their Sediment Management Plan, and in that PDF is a topographical map from 1912 showing  what the landscape looked like before there was 2-3 million cubic yards of sediment built up behind the dam.

This is the 2nd video from the vantage point of just north of Condit Dam. You can see the pan from north to south, and the dam in the background. You can also see Charlie, who’s shooting a documentary about the dam coming out and a helicopter flying around with Larry Moran monitoring for people getting too close and possibly falling into the river.

This is a pretty static shot of the White Salmon River as it runs freely through the Northwestern Lake reservoir for the first time in 98 years about an hour after the Condit Dam breach. There were a number of onlookers just north of the dam who were focusing on the sediment being washed away. This is the first of a series of three videos, and you can see that there’s a temporary waterfall that will be slowly eroded away by the White Salmon River.

Here’s the 2nd time lapse sequence from the University of Montana’s Geomorphology Lab. This sequence shows the two hours of Northwestern Lake draining out after Condit Dam was breached. It’s fascinating to watch the sediment slowly break away, and also to track the water line drop by watching the orange buoys 

Here’s a time lapse sequence focusing on upstream side of Condit Dam as the water is draining out. You can see the woody debris floating the top, and it’s doesn’t start to flow through the breached dam until the water gets low enough. You can start to see some sediment break off as well.  The primary contact for this video is Andrew Wilcox, whose specialty is Fluvial Geomorphology, which is the study of river related landforms. He’s from the Geomorphology Lab at the University of Montana’s Department of Geosciences who collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey on shooting at least a couple of time lapse sequences of the lake draining.

It’s interesting to read about Wilcox’s speciality:

My research entails field studies and modeling of river flow, sediment transport, and channel morphology. I am especially interested in relationships among geomorphic and ecosystem processes in rivers and streams; using geomorphology to assist quantification of ecosystem flow prescriptions in dammed rivers; sediment transport and channel response associated with dam removal; morphology and hydraulics in steep streams; and process-based approaches to stream restoration.

This is a photo montage of Northwestern Lake draining over the course of about 80 minutes or so. I took these screenshots from the live stream and stitched them together. The sun was out and really bright about an hour before the breach, which is when I took the first shot. It’s really striking to me to see the reflections in the water.  You can also see a helicopter in the 3rd photo that was flying around monitoring everything. The livestream was mostly focused on the other three shots of the water rushing out downstream, but fortunately there were some other people doing time lapse sequences of Northwestern Lake draining.

This is a photo montage of Northwestern Lake draining over the course of about 80 minutes or so. I took these screenshots from the live stream and stitched them together. The sun was out and really bright about an hour before the breach, which is when I took the first shot. It’s really striking to me to see the reflections in the water.  You can also see a helicopter in the 3rd photo that was flying around monitoring everything. The livestream was mostly focused on the other three shots of the water rushing out downstream, but fortunately there were some other people doing time lapse sequences of Northwestern Lake draining.

Some pretty amazing footage of the sediment being washed down the White Salmon River standing on top of Condit Dam 30+ minutes after the breach. NW Lake was pretty much drained, and some close-up shots of the sediment washing in and out of the blasted hole. Footage shot by a fishery biologist named Joe Skalicky, who apparently works for the “Water Management and Evaluation Team at the Columbia River Fisheries Program Office in Vancouver, Washington”

Northwestern Lake took about 90 minutes to drain. Here’s the livestream of the Condit Dam breach sped up 100x from 4 different angles. The livestream skips at the breach, which is annoying, but this is when the stream likely had a huge bandwidth load. PacifiCorp contractors thought it’d take 6 hours, but there was less woody debris blocking the tunnel at the time of the breach. You can see lots of wood show up at around 4:50.

Here’s old footage of a couple of people plunging down a flooded Condit dam. I saw photos of this and thought that they might have been photoshopped, but it turns out that Kayaker Austin Rathman and Rafter Dan McCain actually did go over the 120-foot drop at Condit Dam. I imagine that this probably happened during the ‘96 flood, and the breaching of Condit inspired Ralph Bloemers to dig up the footage and post it online. Paul Pearce comments at the beginning about the general ridiculousness of the Condit Dam.

Andy Maser & Steve Stampfli have been shooting 10 images a day for the past months of the preparation for the Condit Dam breach. Here’s a timelapse montage of some of their footage.

Description of what’s in the video from Maser’s blog:

  • The lake was drawn down more than 10 feet
  • The minimum flow has been diverted around the site, and the pool below the dam has been drained
  • A scaffolding was installed to allow better access to the site
  • Cables were strung high across across the river and machinery lowered into the riverbed
  • A huge floating crane has been moved into position upstream of the dam
  • Blasting of the drain tunnel is progressing well

JR Merit was the prime contractor for removing the Condit Dam for PacifiCorp. Here’s an animated video showing what they had to do in preparation including reinforcing the Northwestern Lake Rd bridge further down into the bedrock, dredging a pathway for the sediment and blasting a hole in the bottom of the dam. It’s pretty interesting to see what comes afterwards in terms of breaking up the concrete and burying it on the side of the mountain.

Andy Maser produced this awesome video of a local kayaker and a local activist talking  about the White Salmon River and the removal of Condit Dam. Maser says that “Heather Herbeck works for Wet Plantet, a local raft company, and is excited to explore the new whitewater in her backyard.  Phyllis Clausen, 30 year resident of Trout Lake, WA, is excited to see a project she’s poured her heart and soul into finally come to fruition.”

I personally don’t think that there’s a waterfall hidden underneath Northwestern Lake, primarily because I think that it’s more likely that the river will eventually re-establish itself to be more like it’s pre-1913 state. There’s some pretty detailed topographical maps from 1912 that were included in the appendix of the Sediment Management plan put together by some sub-contractors on the Condit Dam removal project.