Fish & Wildlife

Protecting habitats for fish and wildlife

As part of our commitment to protect fish, wildlife and cultural resources, we implement a variety of monitoring and management efforts.

Fish species

Fisheries biologists and scientists work collaboratively with local agencies and tribes to study the behavior of fish passing through the Priest Rapids Project.

More than 40 species of fish swim the waters of the project area, including 14 of the 24 recognized families of North American freshwater fish. Among these species are both anadromous (migratory) and resident fish.

anadromous fish icon

Anadromous fish

    • Coho
    • Pacific Lamprey
    • Sockeye
    • Spring, summer and fall Chinook Salmon
    • Summer Steelhead
resident fish icon

Resident fish

    • Northern Pikeminnow
    • Smallmouth Bass
    • Walleye
    • White Sturgeon

Interested in the state and federal requirements and agreements that govern our fish protection efforts?

 
BROWSE THROUGH THE BIOLOGICAL OPINIONS & AGREEMENTS

Biological opinions & agreements

 
UPPER COLUMBIA RIVER SPRING-RUN CHINOOK SALMON AND STEELHEAD BIOLOGICAL OPINION
The National Marine Fisheries Service biological opinion determines that Priest Rapids Project operations are not likely to jeopardize stocks of Upper Columbia River spring-run Chinook salmon and Upper Columbia River steelhead.
 
 
BULL TROUT BIOLOGICAL OPINION
The National Marine Fisheries Service biological opinion determines that Priest Rapids Project operations are not likely to jeopardize stocks of Upper Columbia River spring-run Chinook salmon and Upper Columbia River steelhead.
 
These are the folks who do our fish counts every year from April through November. They can identify most any fish in the river from the shape of its head, body and tail. The counters used to count in real time, 24-7, through viewing windows in a small rooms called "count houses." Today, the runs are video recorded at each dam, and the counters work off the videos. From left, Vicki Solheim, Arline Harvold-Terry, Carol Frady, Supervisor Dave Duvall, John Smoots, Debbra Long, Denise Wisdom and Val Parker.

Disclaimer

Neither Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County (District) nor any of its officers or employees warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published on this web page. The information is provided for informational purposes only. The District may not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, timeliness, or reliability of such information. Some or all of the temperature and gas data has been downloaded electronically from remote devices and is particularly time and date sensitive and subject to change without notice. Additionally, the District assumes no obligation to provide timely or current updates to the same. References to trade names or links to resources outside the District does not imply endorsement of the trade name or linked site by the District. Additionally, the District does not endorse the use of this information for any particular purpose nor authorizes any use for commercial purposes or alteration of the data.

wanapum fish bypass

Wanapum Fish Bypass

CONSTRUCTION
COMPLETED

2008

CONSTRUCTION
COST

$35 million

OPERATION
SCHEDULE

April - August

 
BYPASS DIMENSIONS

A single 290 ft. chute
Opening of 18.5 ft.
Exit width of 90 ft.

Priest Rapids Fish Bypass

CONSTRUCTION
COMPLETED

2014

CONSTRUCTION
COST

$27.4 million

OPERATION
SCHEDULE

April - August

 
BYPASS DIMENSIONS

Three 204-foot chutes (using existing spill gates). Each shoot has a 40-44 foot opening.

DESIGN FEATURES

Retained and modified 3 existing spillways and raised the crest height just over 35 feet in each spillway

priest rapids fish bypass

Innovative Technology with
Results

Most juvenile salmonids stay in the upper portion of the water column as they migrate downstream to the ocean. This fact influenced the design of each bypass. Each fish bypass system is engineered to provide migrating salmonids the safest possible passage route while also maximizing water-use efficiency. Water flowing through the bypasses is designed to minimize harmful total dissolved gas (TDG), which at high levels can cause gas bubble trauma to fish.

GrantPUD

Adult Fishways

We operate and maintain two fishways at each dam designed to allow safe passage upstream for adult fish returning to their native waters. The sluiceways at both Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams provide a fallback passage for steelhead and fall Chinook.

OPERATION SCHEDULE

April to November during upstream fish migration

Off-ladder adult fish trap

The Off-ladder Adult Fish Trap facility at Priest Rapids Dam was built for fish research and management activities. The trap diverts steelhead from the fish ladder into a holding tank where they are examined, measured, recorded and tagged before being returned to the fish ladder.

GrantPUD
GrantPUD

Off-ladder adult fish detection

Adult Passive Integrator Transponder (PIT)-tag detection equipment is installed at both fishways at Priest Rapids Dam. These PIT-tag readers monitor downstream survival of fish and their return upstream, providing valuable data regarding fish migration histories.

Off-ladder fish counting

We are committed to providing accurate counts of adult fish migrating through the fishways at Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams. These counts contribute to research and management purposes for the Columbia Basin salmon populations and river environment.

GrantPUD

Predator Control

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AVIAN ARRAYS

Installation of wire deters various species of fish-eating birds that prey upon migrating salmon smolts. We conducted studies at Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams to determine where birds feed upon smolts, and installed wire arrays to protect fish in those areas.

DAM# OF WIRESCOMPLETED
Wanapum 50 2010
Priest Rapids 70 2008
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NORTHERN PIKEMINNOW

Northern pikeminnow are a native, fish-eating minnow that lives in the Columbia River. Northern pikeminnow larger that eight inches are known to feed heavily on salmonid smolts during the downstream migration. To increase survival of the salmonids moving through the Priest Rapids Project, we implemented a control program that focuses on removing adults, sub-adult and yearling northern pikeminnow. We use set lines, seines (a net that hangs vertically in the water), traps and angling tackle to remove northern pikeminnow and increase the overall survival of migrating juvenile salmonids.

FACILITYOWNER/OPERATORLOCATIONSPECIESTOTAL GRANT PUD FISHACTIVITIES
Priest Rapids Hatchery Grant PUD/WDFW Priest Rapids Dam, on bank of Columbia River Upriver bright fall Chinook 5.6 million Spawning of adults, egg incubation, early and final juvenile rearing, release into the Columbia River
Nason Creek Acclimation Facility Grant PUD/WDFW River mile 10.8 of Nason Creek Wenatchee basin spring Chinook 225,000 Final rearing and release into Nason Creek
Carlton Acclimation Facility Grant and Chelan PUDs/WDFW Twisp, WA on the bank of the Methow River Methow basin summer Chinook 200,000 Final acclimation and release into the Methow River
Eastbank Hatchery Chelan PUD/WDFW Wenatchee on the bank of the Columbia River Wenatchee and Methow basin spring and summer Chinook 740,000 Spawning of adults, egg incubation, early juvenile rearing
Methow Hatchery Douglas PUD/WDFW Winthrop, WA Methow basin spring Chinook 135,000 Spawning of adults, egg incubation, early and final juvenile rearing, release into the Methow River
Dryden Pond Chelan PUD/WDFW Dryden, WA on the bank of the Wenatchee River Wenatchee basin summer Chinook 182,000 Final acclimation and release into the Wenatchee River
Chief Joseph Hatchery BPA and Grant PUD/Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Chief Joseph Dam on bank of Columbia River Okanogan basin spring and summer Chinook 388,000 Spawning of adults, egg incubation, early juvenile rearing
Omak and Riverside ponds BPA and Grant PUD/Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Various locations in Okanogan basin Okanogan basin spring and summer Chinook 388,000 Final acclimation and release into the Okanogan River
Penticton Hatchery Grant and Chelan PUDs/Okanagan Nation Alliance Penticton, B.C. Sockeye 1.1 million Spawning of adults, egg incubation and early rearing, release into Okanogan River/Skaha Lake, B.C.
Wells Hatchery Douglas PUD/WDFW Wells Dam on the bank of the Columbia River Upper Columbia River summer steelhead 100,000 Spawning of adults, egg incubation, early rearing
St. Mary’s Acclimation Pond Colville Confederated Tribes Omak, WA Upper Columbia River summer steelhead Approximately 20,000 Final acclimation and release into Omak Creek