COLUMBIA RIVER

COLUMBIA RIVER

River Levels Streamgages Weather


Total streamflow across the Columbia River was last observed at 363,000 cfs, and is expected to yield approximately 720,002 acre-ft of water today; about 76% of normal. Average streamflow for this time of year is 479,721 cfs, with recent peaks last observed on 2018-05-22 when daily discharge volume was observed at 1,735,000 cfs.

Maximum discharge along the river is currently at the Columbia River Below Priest Rapids Dam reporting a streamflow rate of 133,000 cfs. However, the streamgauge with the highest stage along the river is the Columbia River At International Boundary with a gauge stage of 99.58 ft. This river is monitored from 4 different streamgauging stations along the Columbia River, the highest being situated at an altitude of 1,300 ft, the Columbia River At International Boundary.

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, spanning over 1,200 miles from the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. It has played a significant role in the history of the region, serving as a transportation hub for indigenous peoples and European explorers. The river's hydrology is characterized by a high flow volume and seasonal variability, with peak flows occurring in spring and early summer. The Columbia River Basin is home to several large reservoirs and dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam and the Bonneville Dam, which generate hydropower and provide flood control. The river also supports a variety of agricultural uses, including irrigation and hydroelectric power, as well as recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and camping.

July 20, 2024

°F

°F

mph

Windspeed

%

Humidity

Last Updated 2024-07-20
Discharge Volume 720,002 ACRE-FT
Streamflow 363,000.0 cfs
-128000.0 cfs (-26.07%)
Percent of Normal 75.67%
Maximum 1,735,000.0 cfs
2018-05-22
Seasonal Avg 479,721 cfs
Streamgauge Streamflow Gauge Stage 24hr Change (%) % Normal Minimum (cfs) Maximum (cfs) Air Temp Elevation
Columbia River At International Boundary
USGS 12399500
108000 cfs 99.58 ft 0.93
Columbia River Below Priest Rapids Dam
USGS 12472800
133000 cfs 16.84 ft 5.56
Columbia River At The Dalles
USGS 14105700
122000 cfs 76 ft -14.69
Columbia River @ Beaver Army Terminal Nr Quincy
USGS 14246900
2680 cfs 7.51 ft -97.67

Regional Streamflow

13

Cubic Feet Per Second

25

Cubic Feet Per Second

76

Cubic Feet Per Second

3

Cubic Feet Per Second

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Historical River Levels

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It flows northwest and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river is 1,243 miles (2,000 km) long, and its largest tributary is the Snake River. Its drainage basin is roughly the size of France and extends into seven US states and a Canadian province. The fourth-largest river in the United States by volume, the Columbia has the greatest flow of any North American river entering the Pacific.
The Columbia and its tributaries have been central to the region's culture and economy for thousands of years. They have been used for transportation since ancient times, linking the region's many cultural groups. The river system hosts many species of anadromous fish, which migrate between freshwater habitats and the saline waters of the Pacific Ocean. These fish—especially the salmon species—provided the core subsistence for native peoples.
In the late 18th century, a private American ship became the first non-indigenous vessel to enter the river; it was followed by a British explorer, who navigated past the Oregon Coast Range into the Willamette Valley. In the following decades, fur trading companies used the Columbia as a key transportation route. Overland explorers entered the Willamette Valley through the scenic but treacherous Columbia River Gorge, and pioneers began to settle the valley in increasing numbers. Steamships along the river linked communities and facilitated trade; the arrival of railroads in the late 19th century, many running along the river, supplemented these links.
Since the late 19th century, public and private sectors have heavily developed the river. To aid ship and barge navigation, locks have been built along the lower Columbia and its tributaries, and dredging has opened, maintained, and enlarged shipping channels. Since the early 20th century, dams have been built across the river for power generation, navigation, irrigation, and flood control. The 14 hydroelectric dams on the Columbia's main stem and many more on its tributaries produce more than 44 percent of total US hydroelectric generation. Production of nuclear power has taken place at two sites along the river. Plutonium for nuclear weapons was produced for decades at the Hanford Site, which is now the most contaminated nuclear site in the US. These developments have greatly altered river environments in the watershed, mainly through industrial pollution and barriers to fish migration.



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