Columbia River: "The Mighty Columbia River" 1947 Coronet Instructional Films
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Published on Oct 4, 2012
more at http://scitech.quickfound.net/geology...
"Hydroelectric power, shipping, irrigation and salmon fishing."
Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
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 U.S. 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 U.S. states and a Canadian province.
By volume, the Columbia is the fourth-largest river in the United States; it has the greatest flow of any North American river draining into the Pacific. The river's heavy flow and its relatively steep gradient gives it tremendous potential for the generation of electricity. The 14 hydroelectric dams on the Columbia's main stem and many more on its tributaries produce more hydroelectric power than those of any other North American river.
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 many cultural groups of the region. The river system hosts many species of anadromous fish, which migrate between freshwater habitats and the saline Pacific Ocean. These fish—especially the salmon species—provided the core subsistence for natives; in past centuries, traders from across western North America traveled to the Columbia to trade for fish.
In the late 18th century, a private American ship became the first non-indigenous vessel to enter the river... 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. The development, commonly referred to as taming or harnessing of the river, has been massive and multi-faceted. 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 the purposes of power generation, navigation, irrigation, and flood control. Today, a dam-impounded reservoir lies along nearly every U.S. mile of the once free-flowing river, and much of the Canadian stretch has been impounded as well. 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... All these developments have had a tremendous impact on river environments, perhaps most notably through industrial pollution and barriers to fish migration...
The Columbia begins its 1,243-mile (2,000 km) journey in the southern Rocky Mountain Trench in British Columbia (BC). Columbia Lake -- 2,690 feet (820 m) above sea level -- and the adjoining Columbia Wetlands form the river's headwaters...
With an average flow at the mouth of about 265,000 cubic feet per second (7,500 m3/s), the Columbia is the largest river by volume flowing into the Pacific from North America and is the fourth-largest by volume in the U.S...
The Columbia's heavy flow and extreme elevation drop over a short distance, 2.16 feet per mile (40.9 cm/km), give it tremendous capacity for hydroelectricity generation. In comparison, the Mississippi drops less than 0.65 feet per mile (12.3 cm/km). The Columbia alone possesses one-third of the United States's hydroelectric potential.
The largest of the 150 hydroelectric projects, the Grand Coulee Dam and the Chief Joseph Dam, are also the largest in the United States and among the largest in the world.
Inexpensive hydropower supported the emergence of an extensive aluminum industry, which draws tremendous amounts of power. Until 2000, the Northwestern United States produced up to 17 percent of the world's aluminum and 40 percent of the aluminum produced in the U.S. But the commoditization of power in the early 21st century, coupled with drought that reduced the generation capacity of the river, damaged the industry. By 2001, Columbia River aluminum producers had idled 80 percent of its production capacity, and by 2003, the entire United States produced only 15 percent of the world's aluminum...
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