News

Chelan PUD funds several conservation efforts, wraps up salmon survival study

by Rachel Hansen | Jun 15, 2021

Chelan PUD upheld its commitment to salmon and stewardship by investing in habitat improvements and hatchery programs in 2020. (Board audio starts at 00:33:45) The PUD contributed $1,010,438 of the $2,714,354 collective costs of habitat restoration projects located in the mid-Columbia tributaries, including:

  • Beaver Creek: Correction project, Chelan County Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
  • Chiwawa River: Floodplain reconnection and enhancement, Chelan County DNR; Big Meadow fish passage restoration with Cascade Fisheries
  • Nason Creek: Nason Kahler instream complexity project, Chelan County DNR
  • Icicle Creek: City of Leavenworth fish screen, Trout Unlimited
  • Chumstick Creek: Baseflow and riparian enhancement, Cascadia Conservation District
  • Wenatchee River: Goodwin side channel assessment, Cascade Fisheries

Chelan PUD, through its hatcheries and funding agreements, released more than 1.8 million fish into the upper- and mid-Columbia River last year.

The salmon survival study at Rock Island Dam is off to a strong start with nearly 1,000 yearling Chinook salmon tagged, and millions of data points logged over the last month. The goal is to achieve at least 93 percent survival rate as juvenile salmon pass Rock Island on their way to the ocean. Final results are expected in September.

A survival study is required every 10 years by the Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) for Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams. Chelan PUD developed the HCPs cooperatively with state and federal fisheries agencies and tribes. Chelan PUD fisheries staff are planning a 10-year survival study at Rocky Reach Dam in 2022.

The HCPs commit the PUD to a 50-year program to ensure that its hydro projects have no net impact on the mid-Columbia salmon and steelhead runs. To achieve that standard, the PUD has invested in dam passage improvements, off-site hatchery programs, predator control, and habitat restoration work in the mid-Columbia tributary systems.

In other news, commissioners:

  • Reviewed the insurance program policy renewal for 2021-2022 that estimates a 32 percent increase in premiums. (01:01:53)
  • Heard an update about the fire safety outage management plan and community outreach in the Lake Wenatchee-Plain area. (01:19:05)
  • Heard a report about the second guaranteed price amendment for the rehabilitation of the first unit of the Rock Island Powerhouse 2 modernization project. The $66.9 million contract for this project is expected to be considered at the next commission meeting. (01:44:15).

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The next PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Commissioners will also meet virtually at 1 p.m. June 29 for a Tri-Commission meeting with Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority and Chelan County.

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