Spectacular time-lapse video of a dam being decommissioned

A cool video from National Geographic of a damn being decommissioned in Washington state in 2011.

From the video’s YouTube page:

The White Salmon River in Washington state is flowing again as the nearly 100-year-old Condit Dam was disabled with explosives Wednesday. The reservoir draining took about 2 hours. Further demolition is scheduled in 2012. The event is a significant milestone for river restoration and dam removal nationwide.

What’s amazing is how ugly the land is once the dam is removed.  Check out these pictures of before and after.






And a reader posted a link to an update on the dam’s status.  You can see that things are getting back to normal, but the sides of the river are still black. It’s going to take a few years to fill in with greenery.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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11 Responses to “Spectacular time-lapse video of a dam being decommissioned”

  1. hollywoodstein says:

    There are efforts east and west working for years on this stuff, if only for selfish sport fishing reasons. Use the google machine to see if there are any in your state. sadly China, Inc. and South America are looking to replicate our mistakes. It’s not like we have the moral authority to tell anyone not to do it aside from learn from our mistakes.

  2. Ooh that’s a good idea – must be a video out there about that, will check

  3. samizdat says:


    Wow, I can’t believe this amazing valley was dammed and flooded. But, then again, Lake Powell flooded some equally beautiful land, and Mulholland wanted to dam the friggin’ Grand Canyon, FFS.

    Fuck Feinstein, Pelosi, and SF!

  4. samizdat says:

    Some interesting politics behind the effort to breach the dam in Yosemite National Park. http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/sierra-club-targets-lawmaker-who-wants-restore-hetch-hetchy-18245

    Rather surprised that Fienstien and Pelosi are against the breach. Rather parochial viewpoint, considering the Sierra Club’s endorsement of breaching.

  5. S1AMER says:

    It’s good to see nature healing from mankind’s misdeeds. I only wish we saw it more frequently.

  6. OtterQueen says:

    I’d love to see this happen at Hetch Hetchy.

  7. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Look at footage of Mt St Helens to see how nature reclaims her beauty after recovering from disaster (in this case, having a stream channel flooded for decades.)

  8. MyrddinWilt says:

    The salmon have returned.

    Which means that only some salmon return to their own spawning ground to breed. Which was always pretty obviously the case (or how would the species have spread) but text books tended to make the nonsensical statement that they all returned to their own birthplace.

  9. Hue-Man says:

    I watched the PBS documentary on the de-commissioning process when it aired (and haven’t re-watched it today). Here’s the link (26 minutes): http://watch.opb.org/video/2336971141

    Our local water authority proposed to demolish two dams because they were found to be susceptible to failure in the case of either an earthquake (welcome to the Ring of Fire) or excessive rainfall. A failure would destroy a neighborhood of several hundred homes, resulting in significant loss of life if it occurred at the wrong time and without warning. Ironically, it’s the environmentalists arguing against the demolition because of the loss of recreational access!

  10. Cool, I just added that link to the story, thanks!

  11. FuzzyRabbit says:

    The river is recovering faster than anticipated. Here is the rest of the story: http://whitesalmontimelapse.wordpress.com/

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