Fish and Wildlife

Rocky Reach Fish LadderThe mission of Chelan PUD’s Fish & Wildlife Programs is to meet the District’s regulatory requirements and natural resource stewardship responsibilities in a safe, cost-efficient manner.

Chelan PUD personnel develop, perform, and coordinate surveys and studies, providing the expertise both in the office and the field to meet specific license requirements mandated for the hydroelectric projects operated by the District.

The District also must carry out species monitoring and enhancement projects in order to meet requirements of our Habitat Conservation Plan agreements and the Endangered Species Act. Ongoing studies and monitoring projects serve to maintain a data set to address issues that may arise during project relicensing and other regulatory permit processes for the District’s hydroelectric projects.

Kokanee and Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, Oh my

by Kimberlee Craig | Dec 17, 2019
Board members review PUD’s fisheries stewardship

Chelan PUD and its mid-Columbia River PUD neighbors are known for programs that protect and enhance migrating salmon and steelhead. On Monday, staff provided an update for commissioners on those programs, plus Chelan PUD’s support of efforts that help fill local lakes with kokanee, cutthroat and rainbow trout.

In 2019, Chelan County PUD’s resident fish program brought more than 200,000 fish to 20-plus lakes in Chelan and Douglas counties.

Those lakes are popular fishing spots for customer-owners and visitors, said Ian Adams, PUD hatchery maintenance and operations coordinator. “People might not be aware of Chelan PUD’s role in supporting the resident fishery,” Adams said.  (At 01:20 on the board meeting audio recording.)

Resident fish are raised at the PUD’s Chelan hatchery. Young cutthroat trout also spend time at the PUD’s Eastbank Hatchery before being released, he said. The program is a responsibility of federal licenses to operate Lake Chelan and Rocky Reach dams. 

Staff also highlighted programs focused on salmon and steelhead under Habitat Conservation Plans for Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams. In 2019, the Tributary Committees approved $2.2 million in total funding to support habitat restoration and protection. Working with tribes and agencies, Chelan PUD has achieved no net impact on salmon and steelhead from hydro operations through habitat restoration, meeting fish passage project survival standards and hatchery programs.

Catherine Willard, senior fisheries biologist, recapped 2019’s adult fish returns past Rock Island Dam. Depending on species, returns ranged from 22 percent to 91 percent of 10-year averages. 

In other business, commissioners:

  • Elected 2020 board officers. President Garry Arseneault, Vice President Steve McKenna and Secretary Ann Congdon will continue in those offices for the coming year. (01:47)
  • Provided direction to staff regarding specifics for an opt-out policy for customers choosing not to receive the benefits offered by advanced meters. Installation will start next year. Elements of the new policy will include a monthly fee of $50 to cover the costs of manually reading and maintaining the meter. Qualified low-income disabled and low-income senior customers who opt out would receive a 50-percent discount on the monthly fee. Staff will continue to take public comment through Jan. 3 and return next year with a resolution to adopt the new policy. (00:11)
  • Directed staff to continue Service Center design with an added 10,000 square-feet in the administration building to cost-effectively create more flexibility to meet staffing needs. Including more space at this point is estimated at $5 million to $6 million, compared with more than double that amount if space was added 10 years from now. (00:40)
  • Reviewed 2019’s Public Power Benefit program that funded a supported-employment pilot, provided 1,700 day-use park passes, supported design for new displays at Rocky Reach Discovery Center and continued fiber network expansion. Board members earmarked the year’s remaining $125,000 to be used for displays in the new Discovery Center. (01:11
  • Applauded the ownership taken by employees to support key District initiatives. Senior accounting analyst Loretta Coonfield is leading the Finance group’s testing of the new customer billing system, set to launch next month. They noted her diligence in tracking all issues found during testing and her meticulous work to solve them. Senior systems analyst Todd Walsh took on the role of PUD liaison as the team developing Technology Roadmaps recognized the need for outside review, needed on short notice. He coordinated the effort with a consultant and 20-member project team and getting it done on time. (00:06)

Upcoming events:

  • Dec. 20 – Fiesta Decembrina, 8 p.m., Pybus Public Market
  • Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve, lobbies closing at 1 p.m.
  • Dec. 25 – Christmas Day, offices closed
  • Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day, offices closed
  • Jan. 6 - Commission meeting, 10 a.m.

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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 16, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at Find us at and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD. 

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