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Welcome to the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival PDF Print E-mail



                                                                      Photo Courtesy David Gluckman 


 The Othello Sandhill Crane Festival

 Othello, Washington


Grant County Conservation District

1107 South Juniper Way, Moses Lake, WA 98837



Below is just some of what some of you geologist may enjoy at the

19th Annual Festival held March 18, 19, 20, 2016 

Brent Cunderla’s General Ice Age Floods lecture:

Listen to a general overview by Brent Cunderla of the Ice Age Floods story that occurred numerous times during the Pleistocene (Ice Age) and the pathways of the floods from the northwest Montana to the Pacific Ocean, with an emphasis on the flood features found in Eastern Washington.  The talk will include a discussion of how Joseph Pardee and J Harlan Bretz swayed the geologic community about the field evidence of these catastrophic floods.  Brent is a geologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Wenatchee.  He has been actively exploring late Pleistocene glacial geology for the past 25 years while working with the National Park Service and the Ice Age Floods Institute to designate the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail.  He has a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and a master’s degree in geology from Portland State University.

Brent Cunderla’s Drumheller Channels Saturday Tour:

Led by Brent Cunderla, this trip will emphasize the geology and catastrophic Ice Age Flood features found near Othello and Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.  A visit to the Drumheller Channels (a National Park Service National Landmark managed by Columbia NWR), scabland topography and ice-rafted boulders, or Erratics, will be the highlights of the trip.  He has spent the last 25 years with the Bureau of Land Management in  Wenatchee and has been actively exploring the late Pleistocene glacial geology, particularly the Ice Age  Floods features of North Central Washington.  There will be one stop for facilities and no lunch on this trip, so please plan accordingly.

Bruce Bjornstad’s Moses Coulee Lecture:

Geologist-author Bruce Bjornstad lives in Richland, Washington and is the author of two geologic guidebooks on the Ice Age Floods. Now retired, Bjornstad formerly worked with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory  for 25 years.  Bruce Bjornstad will present a collection of pictures and video depicting the erosional and depositional effects of the earliest Ice Age Floods upon Moses Coulee.  The accompanying lecture will provide you with an understanding of how Moses Coulee was formed, and an understanding of the power associated with these Ice Age Floods.  This presentation will provide you with a comprehensive preview of Sunday’s Moses Coulee tour.

Bruce Bjornstad’s Moses Coulee Tour:

As many as five Ice Age Floods roared out of Montana and down the Columbia River Valley and Moses Coulee as well. These early floods were the largest floods and they produced dramatic geologic features.  Moses Coulee will give you an opportunity to see a landscape that reflects the impressive erosional and depositional capability of these Ice Age Floods.  This tour is eight hours in length, so bring food and drink. Do not forget to bring your camera.

Ken Lacy’s “Mechanisms of Columbia River Basalt Erosion by the Ice Age Floods” Lecture:

The Grand Canyon was carved by the Colorado River over millions of years, by eroding one grain of sand at a time.  Contrast this leisurely erosion with the actions of the Ice Age Floods.  These floods consisted of as many as 100 separate floods over a three thousand year period.  If these 100 floods were to be combined into one continuous flood episode, this flood episode would last for only 90 days.  The upper and lower Grand Coulee is approximately 50 miles long, 3 miles wide, and 400 – 900 feet deep.  As the Grand Coulee was completely eroded by these last 100 floods, it can be said that the Grand Coulee was created In only 90 days of continuous flooding!  This presentation by Ken Lacy will examine how the interaction of the flood waters with the Columbia River Basalts created a unique assortment of erosional and depositional features – all in a “geologic blink of an eye”.  Ken is on the board of the Ice Age Floods Institute and is a past president of the Wenatchee Valley Erratics.  Ken has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and is a student of geology.

Karl Lillquist’s Babcock Ridge and the Potholes and Frenchman Springs Coulee Lecture:

This lecture is about the story of 350 foot deep flood waters filling the Quincy Basin, and then over-topping  the Babcock Ridge.  As the enormous flood waters poured over the ridge in three places, they each became a recessional waterfall.  By retreating upstream; Lynch, Potholes and Frenchman Springs Coulees were created.  This presentation by Karl Lillquist, Professor of Geography at Central University, will give you a preview of Sunday's field trip to the Quincy area.

Karl Lillquist’s Babcock Ridge and the Potholes and Frenchman Springs Coulee Tour:

The uplifted western edge of the Quincy Basin formed the Babcock Ridge.  This uplift was slow enough to allow the Columbia River to cut through the basalt to form a gorge just west of the Babcock Ridge.  Ice Age Flood gravels located in the George, Washington area, show evidence of a much earlier flood(s) that over-topped Babcock Ridge and flowed east into the Quincy Basin – perhaps a million years ago.  More  recently (18,000 years ago), floods entered the Quincy Basin from Grand Coulee.  These floods, traveling west, over – topped Babcock Ridge, creating Lynch, Potholes and Frenchman Springs Coulees.  The flood waters also escaped the Quincy Basin by flowing south through the Drumheller Channels. You will have an opportunity to see the spectacular landforms created by the geologic processes described above.   This tour will be led by Karl Lillquist, Professor of Geography at Central University.

Gene Kiver’s Upper Grand Coulee Lecture:

Gene Kiver taught geology at Eastern Washington University for 32 years before retiring.  He continues to research, present lectures, and lead field trips on the Pleistocene history of the Channeled Scabland and related features in Eastern Washington.  Completion of a recent guidebook on the northern reaches of the flood area co-authored with Bruce Bjornstad and preparation of a new book on Washington geology are some of his recent activities.  A key area in the Missoula Floods story revolves around the Grand Coulee.  It's relation to the location of the Okanogan ice lobe, terrace levels along the upper Columbia River, and overland flooding in the Channeled Scabland will be discussed in this illustrated presentation.

Gene Kiver’s Upper Grand Coulee Tour:

An all-day bus tour will “fight” our way upstream from Othello through the Summer Falls floodway to the Upper Grand Coulee where we will examine some of the evidence and features produced by the Missoula Floods.  Floodwaters were hundreds to almost 1,000 feet deep along the tour route and produced the spectacular Grand Coulee canyon.  Features include abandoned waterfalls,  the Coulee Monocline, Steamboat Rock, and ending up at Grand Coulee Dam.  We will return to Othello through both the Upper and Lower Grand Coulee.  Time permitting; we may make additional field stops. Bring lunch, water, and snacks.

Lloyd Stoess’ Palouse Falls Lecture:

Lloyd Stoess  graduated from EWSC in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in geography with an emphasis in geomorphology.  As a lifetime resident of the Washtucna area, he has accumulated an intimate knowledge of the area and has co-led numerous bus tours of the area as well as leading a yearly hike up the lower Palouse Falls Canyon.  Lloyd will discuss the spectacular flood-related landforms to be seen on Sunday’s Palouse Falls tour.  This presentation will show how the Ice Age Floods changed the course of the Palouse, Yakima and Columbia rivers.  The lower end of the Cheney-Palouse scabland tract shows land forms that can only be explained by huge Ice Age Floods.  Pictures from the ground and the air will reveal these landforms.  The Palouse Canyon, Washtucna Coulee, Staircase Rapids, Devil’s  Canyon, and Palouse Falls are all included in this presentation.

Lloyd Stoess and Ken Lacy’s Palouse Falls Tour:

Lloyd Stoess and Ken Lacy will be your hosts on a tour of the lower end of the Cheney-Palouse flood route.  This area received up to nine million cubic meters of water per second.  These flood waters created some of the most spectacular examples of flood-related landforms seen anywhere in the world.  You will see enormous coulees, canyons, large streamlined loess islands, huge gravel bars with giant current ripples, and even evidence of a river forced to change its course.  Bretz wrote several papers about this area showing evidence that could only be explained by a gigantic flood.  We will have lunch at the spectacular Palouse Falls and then on to the confluence of the Palouse and Snake rivers where Lloyd will present  many of the historical events of the immediate area including the Marmes Man archeological dig, Palouse Indians, Lewis and Clark and more.

Gary Kleinknecht’s Hanford Reach Interpretive Center and the Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site (CCMS) Lecture:

Gary Kleinknecht will discuss the many interactive educational displays to be seen at the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.  "McBones" Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site Educational Director Gary Kleinknecht will discuss the early development of this paleontological and paleo-ecological study, and recent findings concerning the project.  March begins the start of the seventh dig at this site.  This mammoth dig is an all-volunteer, donation-funded project staffed by local community members and led by paleo-ecologist Max Burton from the Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Richland, and retired high school teacher Gary Kleinknecht.  Visiting scholars from numerous institutions of higher learnin in the USA and foreign countries have visited the site, as well as thousands of school children and adults from the local area.  This presentation will be helpful for those going on the Sunday's field trip to the CCMS and the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.  However, all are welcome to attend the talk.

Gary Kleinknecht’s Hanford Reach Interpretive Center and the Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site (CCMS) Tour:

 Join tour leader Gary Kleinknecht for a visit to two of the Tri-Cities most popular attractions.  The Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site is a working paleontological and paleo-ecological excavation south of Kennewick, Washington.  Work at the site began in 2010 and continues as an all-volunteer community effort under the direction of northwest scientists.  CCMS' dual goals are to study evidence of past life at the site in order to determine local environmental conditions over the past 20,000 years.  The second portion of the tour is to visit the REACH, a center for interpretation of the Columbia River's Hanford Reach National Monument, including the local natural environment.  The number o high quality; interactive displays involving the fields of geology, physics and astronomy, make the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center a wonderful visit for children.  This stop will open the doors for you to provide your children or grandchildren with a great afternoon.  The REACH also presents the most comprehensive coverage of Hanford's role in WWII's Manhattan Project.  Tour leader Gary Kleinknecht is Education Director for the Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site and is an Ice Age Floods tour leader for the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.



John Moody’s Lower Grand Coulee Geology and Birding Tour:  


Travel north and west on McManamon Road through the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge to the Drumheller Channels National Landmark overlook.  Walk out to overlook for presentation.  Re-board bus and travel west then north on H Road SE to Highway 262 then west to view granite Erratics alongside Highway 262 and Frenchman Hills Road.  Continue north on Dodson Road to Neva Lake Road, then westward to Oasis Park.  Re-board bus and travel northward through Ephrata to Sundial at East Beach Park, Soap Lake (bathrooms).  Walk to Sundial and view Soap Lake (original plunge pool) and the Lower Grand Coulee Monocline.  Re-board bus and travel  to Lake Lenore Caves parking area.  Walk around and gather for presentation (bathroom).  Re-board bus and travel to Dry Falls State Park Interpretive Center and Overlook (bathroom). Lunch and presentations.  Re-board bus and travel north to Highway 2 turning west to overlook.  Continue west to Moses Coulee turning south towards Rimrock Meadows.  Return to Soap Lake over Sage Brush Flats Plateau (bathroom stop).  Follow highway 17 northward to Trout Farms Road to visit the Monster Rock in the Ephrata Fan.  Return through Moses Lake to Othello High School via highway 17, the Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway (if time permits, we will stop at Mule Mountain).   John Moody , President of the Lower Grand Coulee chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute, civil and water resources engineer, who lives in Ephrata, Washington.




Last Updated on Monday, 31 August 2015 12:49