March 10- Grant PUD is actively studying options to repair the fractured section of Wanapum Dam. A team of utility engineers, consultants and regulatory officials worked through the weekend to continue to identify what caused the fracture and potential options for repair.
The utility is addressing how to safely pass salmon and steelhead past the dam, if the current reservoir drawdown continues into the migration season, which begins in April. Experts are developing plans to provide upstream passage for adult salmon and steelhead by modifying the two Wanapum Dam fish ladders. The utility is also evaluating plans to transport adult fish around the reservoir. Even at current reservoir levels, downstream juvenile fish passage will occur as it has in the past.
There are 10 irrigators with land-use authorizations for surface-water withdrawals from the Wanapum reservoir. The utility has begun to communicate with them individually to ensure they are aware of the potential impacts to their water supply because of the drawdown. Staff is assessing each individual’s situation to help them determine their best course of action.
The Wanapum reservoir shoreline and boat launches remain closed to the public. Sections of the shoreline, including the riverbank and mud flats are extremely unstable and have proven to be a serious safety hazard. The utility has posted signs informing the public of the shoreline closure and is actively patrolling the area. The Wanapum Lower Boat Launch, Wanapum Heritage Center and day-use park also remain closed. State and local law enforcement agencies will be notified whenever anyone is observed trespassing in areas closed to the public.
The utility has reopened public-access sites on the Priest Rapids reservoir, including the Priest Rapids Recreation Area at Desert Aire and the Buckshot Recreation and Wildlife Area. The Wanapum Dam Overlook is also open.
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.
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