Professor Paddle: Rivers for NW Climate Change Study
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kebm1979
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  Quote kebm1979 Replybullet Topic: Rivers for NW Climate Change Study
    Posted: 15 Jan 2009 at 12:19pm
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Hey everybody, 

I need a little bit of your boating wisdom.  I'm working at UW in Water Resource Engineering, where I do a lot of modeling of Northwest Rivers and how their flows will change with Climate Change.  Most of my work goes towards general topics of interest to the area, hydropower production, flow for agriculture, salmon, ect.

However for my thesis I'm focusing on the effects to the whitewater industry.  Generally this is how commercial rafting will be affected as they produce the most revenue.  For my modeling I'm trying to look at rivers that have minimal regulation (dams, diversions upstream, ect.)  This makes the modeling significantly easier as I don't have to deal with reservoir management.  I would like to study five or six different rivers.

Currently my possible list looks like this:
-Middle Fork of Salmon River, ID (This is the only for sure river to be studied)
-Clackamas River, OR
-Wenatchee, WA (I know there is the small dam, but this is fairly easy to take care of with a little bias correction)
-Skykomish, WA
-Selway, ID
-Lochsa, ID

I would like to study a multiday river in OR or WA, but the problem is finding one that is popular, comes in regularly, and doesn't have much regulation.  Both the Deschutes and Rogue have multiple dams upstream, the Owyhee and Illinois aren't in that often and do not have much traffic(for the good or bad).

So where do you come in?

Great question, you can help me with other rivers that might be of interest.  Also minimum, optimal, and max flows for these rivers for commercial use would be of great help too.  I plan on contacting commercial outfitters for this information too.

Bests,

Kristian Mickelson
206 380 7132

PS: Anyone up for quick trip on the sky on Sat?  I need to get out on the water.  All this talk of boating always makes me just want to skip work and go boat.

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BRoss
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  Quote BRoss Replybullet Posted: 15 Jan 2009 at 2:47pm
You could try the Sandy River.  I know I've seen commercial raft trips on the river, I think Blue Sky and River Drifters both do it  Super popular run because it's close to portland and has class II-IV+.  Plus, they just removed the dam, although I guess I don't know if the flow data since dam removal is enough for your analysis.  Problem is, it's not run as a multiday river.  It does have several sections though, so you could do it...

Couple of other rivers that are a little lesser traveled, and so might not be appropriate, but are run as multidays by commercial raft companies.  Pretty sure these don't have dams...
Grande Ronde
John Day

Cool project!
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ThrowYaMittsUp
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  Quote ThrowYaMittsUp Replybullet Posted: 15 Jan 2009 at 3:09pm
Kristian,

I would suggest both the NF Nooksack and Sauk. They are not the most popular runs, but they do have commercial rafting. I'm not sure of total numbers, but I believe there are four commercial permits on each river.  As far as I know, there are no dams that affect the flow on either of the runs. There is a diversion dam for the Nooksack Falls Hydro Project, but it is well upstream of the section that the raft trips are run on, and the water is returned to the river not far below the falls. Water from the Middle Fork is diverted into Lake Whatcom, but also does not affect the flow in the rafting sections. I am less familiar with the Sauk, but as far as I know, the flow is unregulated.

I guide on both of these rivers and I would be happy to put you in contact with the outfitter that I work for. In the past, they have worked with NSEA, a salmon conservation group, and I would imagine that they would be more than happy to help with your project

PM me if you need anymore info.

Peace,
Brian
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Texas Dave
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  Quote Texas Dave Replybullet Posted: 15 Jan 2009 at 5:17pm
I'm not sure about dams, but the Klickatat may be a good one.  It's run commercially in the spring and makes a great overnighter.
 
Brian, I'm pretty sure the Sauk isn't dammed or if it is, it's well below the sections that are rafted.
Dave
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Wiggins
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  Quote Wiggins Replybullet Posted: 15 Jan 2009 at 9:35pm
No dams on the Sauk.
 
Kyle
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slickhorn
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  Quote slickhorn Replybullet Posted: 16 Jan 2009 at 8:17am

For WA/OR multiday rivers that lack upstream water management, I don't think you can find a better subject than the Grand Ronde.  It sees a lot of commercial traffic, even more if you include sport fishing or hunting guide services, and has a long season.

A similar river would the John Day, though I know there's at least a diversion or two there above Service crick.

The Lower Main Salmon or Main Salmon might also be worth looking at.

Other than the Rogue, there's really not a multiday whitewater industry in OR or WA that compares to Idaho's industry.
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dragorossinw
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  Quote dragorossinw Replybullet Posted: 16 Jan 2009 at 9:43am
OR -  Grande Ronde
          John Day
for sure
Tony Z
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kebm1979
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  Quote kebm1979 Replybullet Posted: 16 Jan 2009 at 1:14pm
Thanks for all the feedback.  I've looked into the Grande Ronde, and I think it could work. It does have some diversions on it for agriculture, but as long as the overall hydrograph of the system isn't modify from it's natural pattern I think these issues can be dealt handled within reason. 

I will look more into the Sauk, and it's feesibilty for the study.  I'd kind of like to limit it two rivers in WA, OR, & ID so I think the Sky and Wenatchee could be the best fit for Wa.  Then probably the Clack and Grande Ronde for OR, and the Middle Fork Salmon and Lochsa for ID.   This work is part of whole bigger PNW river study so hopefully a lot of this information for flows should be available online by the fall.

Thanks again for all the feedback, and let me know if you have any questions for me.
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