That is because there is a crack in the Wanapum Dam, downstream of this site. They had to draw down the water behind the dam to make it safe for repairs. Reports are saying the draw down is about 25 feet below normal levels.
But these current levels are what use to be “normal” for the Columbia River, 50 years ago and the millions of years prior to that. The photo that you see now is what “normal” looks like: a free flowing river.
It is truly magnificent how current, eddies, shorelines and rapids add so much character to a river. The gorge has gone from a stagnant desert reservoir to a real river. What beauty we have robbed ourselves of by turning rivers into reservoirs.