U.S. approves fish passage facility for Washington's Cle Elum Dam

CLE ELUM, Wash., U.S. 9/12/11 (PennWell) -- The Bureau of Reclamation has approved a project to construct fish passage facilities and reintroduce fish species at Reclamation's Cle Elum Dam on the Cle Elum River in Washington.

Reclamation Pacific Northwest Regional Director Karl Wirkus signed a record of decision for the project Aug. 26. The project is to provide fish passage to historic habitat and restore biodiversity to enhance natural production of salmon and lamprey in the upper Cle Elum subbasin.

Cle Elum Dam was built in 1933 without fish passage facilities. Currently, FFP Qualified Hydro 24 LLC holds a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission preliminary permit to study developing an 18-MW Cle Elum project (No. 13843) at the site. Grant County Public Utility District studied developing a 30.2-MW project (No. 12746) at the site in 2007.

The fish passage and reintroduction project is expected to benefit sockeye, coho, and spring chinook salmon, and Pacific lamprey. It also is to benefit two listed species under the Endangered Species Act, Upper Middle Columbia River steelhead and bull trout.

The project includes building downstream passage facilities for juvenile fish to pass through a multi-level gated intake structure and through a conduit on the right abutment of the dam. A trap-and-haul facility is also included.

Reclamation is responsible for the fish passage facilities, while the Washington Department of Ecology, in collaboration with the Yakama Nation and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, is responsible for the fish reintroduction portion of the project.

The record of decision may be obtained from Reclamation's Internet site by clicking here.

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