Monday, September 16, 2013

9/11 Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River

This dam is about 35 miles east of Portland and well worth the drive if you are nearby.  The drive into the place is interesting in itself!  Here is Mount Hood in the distance, taken near the dam entrance.

First, you get your vehicle inspected, and then you cross over the locks onto a sort of island in the middle of the river where the generating building is. 

Then, you drive past the generating building along a fairly narrow road.

Finally, there is a very nice visitor center that has tours of the fish ladders and the generating building.

There is actually two parts to the dam.  This is the part that does NOT contain the generating facility.

This is the other half, where the generating facility is contained.  You can tell by all the power lines.

Here is a photo of the diagram showing the two parts of the dam.  The generating version is on the top, with the island and visitor center in the middle.  The generating station is also on the island.

Here is the visitor center.

This is part of the fish ladder. 

If you look very carefully in the lower left of this photo, you can see a very large fish about to climb the ladder.  It looks like a dark shadow.  The fish do not actually jump out of the water because it is deep enough for them to just swim uphill.

Inside the visitor center, you can go down to see windows showing the fish going past to spawn.  They may look small in the photo, but these fish were 2-3' long!  Big guys.  There were also a lot of fingerlings, or small, fish, but you cannot see them well here.  FYI, is a fish is missing the last fin on top of its back, it was raised in a fish hatchery.  If it has the fin, it is a wild salmon.

This is inside the generating station:

More photos of the way out.  Do you see a hubcap?  I lost one today somewhere.

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