Projects to Make Travel Easier
by Carrie Chicken
The project is part of ongoing mitigation for the Snake River dams.
DAYTON -- Migratory fish making their way up and down the Touchet River should have an easier and safer journey as the result of a series of projects along the river in Dayton.
The Touchet Consolidation Project consists of repair of a diversion dam upstream from the steelhead acclimation pond, a new fish ladder, and a new screen system and piping for two irrigation systems.
The project is part of ongoing mitigation for the Snake River dams, according to Glen Mendel, a fish management biologist for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
It has taken five or six years to gather funds and to get the approval of everyone involved or affected by the improvements.
The diversion dam was starting to fail, and an inadequate fish passage system adjacent to the dam needed upgrading.
The project also changes the intake to bring water from the river from one source instead of three, and eliminates artificial berms constructed by heavy equipment at the old intakes for the irrigation systems.
Water is taken in at the diversion dam, which was repaired during the construction. Screens prevent fish from entering any of the irrigation or acclimation pond systems.
The acclimation pond annually introduces about 85,000 young steelhead to the waters of the Touchet River. The fish were hatched at the Lyons Ferry Hatchery and will be released into the river beginning later this month.
The ladder includes a trap, where fish can be detained and counted, or moved. Adult fish may be captured to harvest eggs for the hatchery at Lyons Ferry.
The project cost about $1.8 million, with funds contributed by a number of agencies. Those agencies and organizations include the state Department of Ecology, Tri-State Steelheaders, state Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bonneville Power Administration, Salmon Recovery Board and U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife. The federal Fish and Wildlife and the Salmon Recovery Board were major grantors, Mendel said.
Watershed biologist Dave Karl organized the efforts, Mendel said. Karl acquired funding and coordinated with the city and engineers to get the work done.
Survival of Snake River Salmon & Steelhead data compiled by bluefish.org, July 2004
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