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Collaboration on the Columbia River Leads to Fish Passage and Praise

The National Hydropower Association has recognized the Wanapum Juvenile Fish Bypass on the Columbia River in Washington as a part of its Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Awards. NOAA’s Northwest Regional Office worked closely with the Grant County Public Utility District and local tribes on the project which was honored for innovative design and collaboration.

The $35 million project was designed and engineered to provide migrating salmon, many of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act, with the safest downstream passage route. The award-winning design helps to ensure that young salmon migrating to the Pacific Ocean can pass Wanapum Dam unobstructed. The bypass achieves dam passage survival rates of greater than 98 percent for juvenile sockeye salmon and 99 percent for juvenile steelhead. This exceeds the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s licensing standards for juvenile salmon passing the dam.

Completed in 2008, the bypass features a 290-foot concrete chute that funnels juvenile fish downstream on a flow of 20,000 cubic feet of water per second. The wide design at the end of the chute allows for even dissipation of water—minimizing uptake of dissolved gas and maximizing juvenile fish passage.

Wanapum Dam Wanapum Dam
Wanapum Dam