Condit Dam, White Salmon River, WA
American Rivers worked for more than 10 years with our partners to lead the effort to remove the 95-year old, 125-foot Condit dam and restore the White Salmon River. The White Salmon flows from its origin on the slopes of Mt. Adams to its confluence with the Columbia River. Portions of the river are protected as Wild and Scenic and are part of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.
Removal of the dam began with a breach draining the reservoir on October 26, 2011, and will allow the White Salmon River to once again be home to abundant wild salmon and steelhead runs, restoring access to about 33 miles of habitat for steelhead and 14 miles of habitat for chinook. Anadromous fish runs will have to pass only one dam – The Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam – on their way from the Pacific Ocean to their spawning grounds. Wildlife that depend on these fish will also benefit.
The river is nationally recognized as a premier whitewater destination—ten outfitters run commercial trips on the river, and at least 25,000 boaters use the river each year—and the dam removal will open up an additional five miles for rafting and kayaking.
This river restoration project is particularly important in an era of climate change. Scientists have determined that rivers such as the White Salmon with late summer water flows fed by cool groundwater will provide high-quality habitat for native species such as salmon and steelhead. This habitat will be even more critical as the temperature warms due to climate change.
Watch a video about the Condit
- Update on the White Salmon River, #5 on America’s Most Endangered Rivers™: 2007 edition
- Coalition Website