Posts tagged: Chelan PUD
PADDLING – Kayakers have largely bailed on a special event just for them.
Whitewater kayak events through the exhilarating but short Chelan River Gorge will become a once yearly rather than four-times yearly event as interest among expert boaters has declined, Chelan County PUD commissioners learned this week.
The PUD and American Whitewater hope the once-a-year release of water from Lake Chelan through the gorge will lead to a more consistent kayaker turnout.
The new plan calls for a water release this year on Sept. 15 and 16 regardless of how many kayakers sign up.
Only about a quarter-mile long, but treacherous with Class 4, 5 and 6 whitewater during spill events, the gorge is navigable only by expert boaters.
The PUD’s federal license to operate Lake Chelan Dam originally ordered four annual releases of water through the gorge for white-water recreation, two in July and two in September. The change comes after a 3-year study revealed not enough interest among boaters to justify four events.
In July, kayakers are spread out among many Northwest rivers, said Thomas O’Keefe, American Whitewater’s Pacific Northwest spokesman.
Even if enough kayakers showed up to run the gorge, Lake Chelan water levels were sometimes low enough in mid summer that it was impossible to release water, PUD officials said.
Flow will be increased to 375 cfs on Sept 15 and to 400 cfs on Sept. 16.
Boaters must register online prior to the event.
KAYAKING — They just barely made the 5 p.m. deadline! The six-kayaker minimum was met this afternoon to trigger the Chelan PUD to release water for kayakers out of Lake Chelan this weekend.
The kayakers signed up today for the rare chance to ride the flows shooting down the narrow gorge in a 3-mile series of Class V falls geared to EXPERT PADDLERS.
The Chelan River, although one of the shortest rivers in the northwest, offers some of the most challenging whitewater boating in the nation.
This is the third year of a pilot program the PUD has established to test the safety and interest in the program.
Each year, during the study period, whitewater releases for kayakers are set to occur only on the second and fourth weekends in July and September.
Due to high flows, whitewater boating on the Chelan River on July 9 and 10 was cancelled.
Read on for details and check out the video above compiled by Bellingham kayaker Matt Kuhrl during last year's weekend flush in the Chelan Gorge.
FISHING — Improvements in operating Rock Island Dam will allow survival of at least 93 percent of the young salmon and steelhead migrating downstream, according to the Chelan County PUD.
The utility had to be able reach the 93-percent survival goal to meet federal criteria for boosting spring chinook, steelhead and sockeye runs.
The fish-survival debate regarding the region’s Columbia River dams began in the late 1970s and ’80s, with federal and state agencies and tribes mandating what PUDs had to do to improve fish survival numbers.
Each dam has its own plan for reaching the goals.
Rock Island Dam is fitted with fish ladders that mature fish use to get around the dam on their homeward migration to spawn. But it has no bypass system for young, ocean-bound fish. Spill is the method used to transport the fish downstream.