Friday, March 26, 2010

The Columbia River

Pine Mountain News

Spring has sprung with full force on Pine Mountain.
Everything is green and the wildflowers are beginning
to bloom. It is a time to mend the fences and prepare
the ranch for spring and summer.

The greenhouse and the fish in the aquaponic tank
survived the winter and are doing well.

Poem of the Week

Friday Night in the City of Roses

by emily d stine

and the locals are listless under-
neath their tortoise shell eyes.

Inside, in gray low lights
and cigarette clouds
new age music wafts
lazy-like over to the crowds.

In studio lofts, art galleries and bars,
put on emphatic facade
'cause we're all gonna be stars.

Clutching pints, the perfect accent
for those black fingernailed hands
of the hipster rockstar tattooed fans.

It's Friday night in the city of roses,
the river's eerie outside, it's bubbling,
for the sea, but tonight the babble's
over the band and the Friday night scene.

Story of the Week

The Columbia River

by G Smith

The Columbia river at 1243 miles is the longest river in

the Pacific Northwest. It drains an area roughly the size

of France. The Columbia forms much of the border

between Oregon and Washington and drains 7 states.

It is the 4th largest river in the United States.

The Columbia begins at 2690 feet ( 820 meters) above

sea level in the Rocky Mountain trench that forms the

border between British Columbia and Alberta in Canada

. The river flows northwest for the first 200 miles then turns

sharply south at the north end of the Selkirk mountains.

The Columbia turns west at the Spokane river then South

at the Okanagan river then southeast at the Wenatchee

river forming a big C. The river then heads west at the

Washington- Oregon border. The River then becomes

the Washington -Oregon border for the final 309 miles

to the coast.

During the last ice age about 15,000 to 10,000 years ago,

the Columbia took a more direct course through the

big c area when the ice dams on ancient Lake Missoula

would break sending the entire lake down the Columbia river.

When the flood was over the direct route formed a dry river

bed. This dry river bed was called a Coulee. Grand Coulee

dam was built during the depression forming lake Roosevelt

opened in 1942. It is the largest dam on the Columbia at

5223 feet (1586 meters) wide and 550 feet ( 168 meters high).

Normal water height is 380 feet ( 115 meters). In 1951

with the addition of Dry Falls dam and North dam, Banks

lake was formed in the dry coulee valley above lake Roosevelt.

Twelve 14 inch pipes and pumps lift water 280 feet from

lake Roosevelt into lake Banks forming a 27 mile long lake

for irrigation of the surrounding area. Six of the pumps can

be reversed and turned into turbines during peak electric

demand times. Total power output of the Grand Coulee

dam with 33 Turbines is 6809 megawatts. The biggest

problem with the Grand Coulee dam is that salmon can

not get by the dam. This keeps the salmon in the last 243

miles of the river instead of 1243 miles like they once roamed.

The Columbia continues through Gorge Amphitheatre,

Priest Rapids dam, then the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The Hanford Reservation is the only untamed part of the

Columbia that is left.

The Snake river and the Yakima river join the Columbia

and the river turns sharply west at the Washington Oregon

border. The Columbia becomes the border for the two states

for the final 309 miles of its journey. The Columbia reaches

the Dalles. Between The Dalles and Portland, the Columbia

cuts through the Cascade mountains forming the breath taking

Columbia River gorge.

The gorge is 4000 feet at the deepest part and 77 streams

flow into the gorge before the Columbia reaches the ocean.

Many of these 77 streams form spectacular water falls as

they deposit their water load into the gorge.

The last dam of the 14 dams on the Columbia before the

Pacific is the Bonneville dam. This dam has an island in the

middle and 2 hydroelectric dams one on each side of the island.

The Bonneville dam also has a lock for river traffic and fish

ladders to help the salmon navigate the river.

At Portland a few miles from the Pacific, the Columbia

turns to the north and slows dropping a load of silt. It then

turns west again and joins the Pacific. The last turn keeps

the Columbia from forming a delta at the ocean.

Pine Mountain Evening

It is evening once more at the Pine Mountain
Ranch. We have just finished dinner and are
gathered in the family room to watch a nature
movie on TV.

I am seated in my favorite reclining chair and
have fresh baked sugar cookies with this week's
sample coffee from
Tonight my flavor is Dutch Chocolate. This American
roast coffee is a chocolate lover's dream with just a hint of
coffee flavor to round it out.

My coffee and cookies are finished now and the movie is over.
It is time for bed. Good night all, see you in 2 weeks.