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Bureau, Washington Release Final EIS On Cle Elum Fish Passage, Fish Reintroduction
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2011 (PST)

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Washington Department of Ecology have completed the Cle Elum Fish Passage Facilities and Fish Reintroduction Project Final Environmental Impact Statement and it is available to the public.


The purpose of the project is to evaluate fish passage facilities at Cle Elum Dam that will give fish access to historic habitat and restore biodiversity and the natural production of anadromous salmonids in the upper Cle Elum subbasin. Cle Elum Dam, located on the Cle Elum River about eight miles northwest of Cle Elum, was built in 1933 without fish passage facilities.


Fish expected to benefit include sockeye, coho and spring chinook salmon, and Pacific lamprey. The project would also contribute to the recovery of two species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act -- the upper Middle Columbia River steelhead and bull trout.


The FEIS includes two preferred alternatives, one for construction of fish passage facilities and one for fish reintroduction. Two no action alternatives are also included.


Reclamation evaluated impacts of the proposed fish passage facilities. The preferred alternative for fish passage allows juvenile fish to pass through a multilevel gated intake structure located against the right abutment and through a conduit on the right abutment of the dam. A trap-and-haul facility is proposed for upstream passage.


Concurrently, Ecology and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have collaborated with the Yakama Nation to evaluate a proposed fish reintroduction project to restore populations above Cle Elum Dam. The fish reintroduction project is dependent on the construction of the upstream fish passage facilities.


“We feel the preferred alternatives provide the best option for fish passage at Cle Elum Dam,” said Bill Gray, manager of Reclamation’s Columbia-Cascades Area Office.


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