Oregon Public Broadcasting

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is cautioning anyone boating along the Columbia River over the next several weeks, to watch out for low water levels downstream from Bonneville Dam.

The Army Corps is telling boaters to be very careful when anchoring near the shore, as the river level could drop considerably in a matter of hours. They're also warning about things like sand bars, and submerged rocks and trees, as they'll be closer to the surface than usual.

The Army Corps has stopped water spills from dams upstream from Bonneville. Those spills began in April and are designed to help juvenile salmon travel downstream to the Pacific.

At the same time, the Grand Coulee Dam in north central Washington, will now start storing water for things like irrigation and winter power generation.

As a result, river levels below Bonneville could be as much as four feet lower than in August. The low levels will likely continue through September, and possibly into October if the weather stays dry and warm.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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