BEVERLY, Wash. – Grant PUD is actively studying options to safely pass adult and juvenile salmon and steelhead past Wanapum Dam if the current drawdown of the Wanapum reservoir continues into the migration season.
Adult upstream passage begins in April and continues into mid-November. Juvenile salmon and steelhead begin to swim downstream around the third week of April. In the event that water remains low into the migration season, options to provide upstream passage include modifications to existing Wanapum Dam fish ladders as well as the potential to trap and haul fish via trucks around the reservoir.
At current water levels, the Wanapum Fish Bypass would be operational, allowing juvenile salmon and steelhead to safely pass over the dam. The utility will continue to coordinate with partner agencies, tribes and Chelan PUD to determine the best options moving forward.
With the impacted portion of the dam now stable, Grant PUD staff, consultants and regulators are developing a plan to determine the root cause of the spillway monolith fracture, which was discovered on Feb. 27, and how best to repair the structure.
The utility has reopened public-access sites below Wanapum Dam, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, the Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park remain closed. However, the Wanapum Dam Overlook is open.
Working under the authority of its federal license, the utility has temporarily closed the Wanapum reservoir shoreline. Article 18 of the utility’s operating license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission states that Grant PUD … may reserve from public access such portions of the project waters, adjacent lands, and project facilities as may be necessary for the protection of life, health and property.
Only authorized personnel are allowed access to the Wanapum reservoir shoreline. Sections of the shoreline, including the riverbank and mud flats are extremely unstable and have proven to be a serious safety hazard.
The utility continues to post signs informing the public of the shoreline closure and is actively working to patrol the area. State and local law enforcement agencies will be notified whenever anyone is observed trespassing in areas closed to the public. All boat launches on the Wanapum reservoir are closed to the public.
Grant PUD continues to meet customer electricity needs with its current power-supply portfolio. Wanapum Dam is generating about half of the electricity it would produce under normal river conditions.
Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation. For more information visit www.grantpud.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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