The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District has implemented restricted waterborne access to hazardous waters immediately upstream and downstream of all Corps-owned locks and dams, flood control dams and multi-purpose dams along the Columbia and Snake River in accordance to ER 1130-2-520, Chapter 10.
Best described as industrial areas, the hazardous water areas above and below dams in the Walla Walla District pose a high level of risk for the public because of the Hydroelectric, spilling, sluicing and lock operations that are often present or begin with little or no notice. Turbulent boils and powerful currents are capable of swamping, capsizing, and even trapping boats and people in turbulent waters. Also during instances of emergency boater distress, project employees are not always immediately available to respond. This places emergency responders and other boaters at risk of a life-threatening situation during rescue attempts. Lock, hydropower, spilling and sluicing operations are disrupted after and during any emergency response effort. These incidents have far reaching impacts; the most important of which are families that have to deal with the loss of a loved one.
Life jacket wear has been ineffective in these areas, since all of the victims who drowned wore a life jacket. In order to increase public safety and address physical security issues, the Walla Walla District made the decision to fully implement the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ER 1130-2-520, Chapter 10.
The restricted areas will be the minimum area allowed per Corps regulations upstream and downstream of locks, dams, and power plant facilities. All forms of water access within the restricted areas are prohibited including boating, swimming and wading.