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Dams

Fall 2018

A river rolls on

After thousands of years of use for food, transportation, and trade, the Columbia River’s dynamics have changed, resulting in unforeseen consequences and deeply mixed emotions.

 

Once there were Five Sisters. Because they loved to eat salmon, the sisters kept a dam at the mouth of Big River to prevent the fish from swimming upstream. Every night they feasted on a wonderful, fat salmon. This didn’t suit Coyote, who thought that the salmon need the people and the people need the salmon. Or maybe he was jealous and wanted some of that fat salmon for himself. So Coyote tricked the sisters to get into their … » More …

Marmes Rockshelter
Fall 2018

The curation crisis

More than 8,500 years ago, a group of people used a rock shelter at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers as a base camp. When rediscovered in the early 1950s, the shelter amazed scientists, including Washington State University archeologist Richard Daugherty, with its wealth of artifacts—and the age of its human remains. Named after the property owner at the time, the Marmes Rockshelter was soon inundated by waters from the recently closed Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake. Although a levee had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the shelter dry, the Corps neglected to take into account the … » More …

Irrigated water in the Columbia Basin. Photo Zach Mazur
Fall 2018

Three economists on the Columbia river

Retired Washington State University economist Norm Whittlesey is sitting at his kitchen table with two other retired economists, Walt Butcher and Ken Casavant. They are reminiscing about the collective 150 years they have worked on and around the Columbia River.

“We used to catch steelhead on the Snake River before the dam,” says Whittlesey. “I’ve got a picture of Walt with, what, a 25 pounder?”

Walt Butcher chuckles and says, “That fish might be up to 25 pounds by now.”

Casavant adds, “It’s been growing, even after being eaten.”

With a sweep of his hand across a map of the Columbia River watershed on the … » More …

Cover of Finding the River
Fall 2012

Finding the River

finding the river crane book cover

Jeff Crane ’98, ’04 PhD
Oregon State University Press, 2011

In 1992, President George H. W. Bush signed into law the Elwha Act, which called for the removal of two hydroelectric dams from the 45-mile river that flows from Washington’s Olympic Range to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Over the past year, the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams have been removed and now the decades of sediment behind them are … » More …

Winter 2011

The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel

kuo

Alex Kuo

Haven Books, 2011

 

Ge and G, mathematicians in northern China and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, respectively, navigate parallel academic paths at the beginning of this unique and challenging novel by WSU English professor Alex Kuo. The two characters don’t know each other, but their lives reflect a common experience over the course of 30 years.

The Chinese woman Ge and Chinese-American man G share a disgust for the emptiness of their teaching and the revolutions … » More …

Fall 2011

Research gone wild: Engineering power in the Pacific Northwest, part II

In 1946, the Washington State Legislature established Washington State College’s Institute of Technology. In a 1986 oral history, Eugene Greenfield, who directed the Institute’s Division of Industrial Research starting in 1958, explained that the purpose of the institute was to “find technological means for inducing a larger industrial output in the State of Washington.’’

“At the end of [World War II], industry was flopped right straight on its back,’’ said Greenfield. “There was nothing doing, and it looked as though it would be many years before industry would be picking up.’’

The legislature would provide $500,000 a year to fund a division “whose sole purpose … » More …

Summer 2011

Current events—engineering power in the Pacific Northwest

When electricity first came to Washington in September of 1885, just a few electric lights illuminated downtown Spokane. By the following March, Seattle had them, too. From those early days, Washington State College had a role in helping spread and improve delivery of electricity throughout the state, with many graduates active in the power industry.

The chief engineer for Washington Water Power (WWP) at Long Lake Dam, completed in 1915, and Little Falls Dam, completed in 1911, was a WSC graduate, as was the superintendent of construction. Nineteen students and graduates worked on the Long Lake job. On the Skagit River Project for the City … » More …