Increased Spills from River Dams
by Whitney Hise
LEWISTON, ID - Decades of declining rates of wild salmon and steelhead runs could soon rise.
According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, if the spilling of water at the Snake and Columbia river dams is greatly increased, juvenile survival of fish could grow. There's also the possibility that the adult return rate of fish could reach a level consistent with recovery.
"With improved survival, it could bring back more fish, both wild and hatchery fish," said Idaho Fish & Game Researcher Charlie Petrosky. "It would ease various constraints on sport tribal fishermen."
Currently, spill regimes are about 40% of the flow in the Snake and Columbia rivers. The new study shows regimes near 60% flow will produce survival rates for the species.
Power generation is the only element of the dams that would suffer.
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