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Economic and dam related articles

Snake River Flow Boost
for Fish Less than Last Year's

by Brad Carlson
Capital Press, June 13, 2022

Assuming 427,000 acre-feet goes through turbines from Hell's Canyon comples onward
and assuming an average price of $0.03 / kilowatt-hour this equates to $13.5 million per year.

Graphic: Snake River water temperature on Lake Sacajawea at forebay of Ice Harbor Dam (2012 - 2019) The Bureau of Reclamation is boosting the Snake River's flow to help migrating fish, but not as much as last year.

The Snake River's annual flow increase to help salmon and steelhead as they migrate downstream is expected to be 18-30% less than last year's.

But this year's volume is higher than originally anticipated because of heavy spring rain, said Brian Stevens, supervisory civil engineer at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Upper Snake Field Office in Heyburn.

Stevens said increased flow for fish, known as flow augmentation, will be 300,000 to 350,000 acre-feet, down from last year's 427,000.

"We deliver what is available," he said. "It reflects low storage and low anticipated runoff."

However, this year's total is above initial projections, which ranged from 220,000 to 280,000 acre-feet, Stevens said.

The flow augmentation could increase even more depending on water availability.

Related Pages:
Power from River Flow by Idaho Power & BPA, Energy Info Administration
Flow Augmentation on Lower Snake River Spreadsheet 1987-2014, Idaho Department of Water Resources
Flow Augmentation: Does or Doesn't Help by N.S. Nokkentved, Times-News, 12/14/00

Brad Carlson covers agricultural, environmental and rural issues in southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon.
Snake River Flow Boost for Fish Less than Last Year's
Capital Press, June 13, 2022

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