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Reports > 2014 > March > Friday 14
Friday, March 14, 2014
By Dave Graybill
The drawdown of Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River has raised concerns among the angling community, primarily about fish passage. At current levels salmon returning up river cannot pass this structure, but I have learned that plans are in place to make sure our spring Chinook and subsequent runs of salmon safely make it up stream. Grant County PUD is currently working on a pumping system to get water to the fish ladders so returning salmon and make it up and over the structure. On the up river side of the dam there is a drop of over 20 feet, so a slide is going to be constructed so fish can enter the river without impact. If fish begin to arrive before this system is in place, they will be trapped below Priest Rapids Dam and trucked to an appropriate location to assure they will be able to reach their home streams. The trap and truck option is only temporary, as it would not be able accommodate the large numbers of fish expected to return to our region this season. The good news is that down stream migration of juvenile salmon and steelhead smolt is possible even under current conditions at the dam.