The Bureau of Reclamation has announced the signing of the record of decision for the Cle Elum Dam Fish Passage Facilities and Fish Reintroduction Project by Karl Wirkus, Pacific Northwest Region director.
The project, says the Bureau, “will provide fish passage to historic habitat and restore biodiversity to enhance the natural production of salmon and lamprey in the upper Cle Elum subbasin.”
Cle Elum Dam located on the Cle Elum River about eight miles northwest of Cle Elum, Wash., was built in 1933 without fish passage facilities.
Fish expected to benefit include sockeye, coho and spring chinook salmon, and Pacific lamprey. The project also benefits the Upper Middle Columbia River steelhead and bull trout, two species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The preferred option is Alternative 3 described as the “Right Bank Juvenile Passage with Right Bank Adult Passage without Barrier Dam.” This alternative meets the project's purpose and need for fish passage in the Yakima basin in “the most environmentally sensitive manner and completes the environmental compliance for this project,” says the Bureau.
The preferred alternative includes building downstream passage facilities for juvenile fish to pass through a multilevel gated intake structure and through a conduit on the right abutment of the Cle Elum Dam. A trap-and-haul facility is also included in this alternative.
Details about Alternative 3 are described in the Cle Elum Dam Fish Passage Facilities and Fish Reintroduction Project Final Environmental Impact Statement and the ROD.
Reclamation is responsible for the Fish Passage Facilities portion of the FEIS; the Washington State Department of Ecology, in collaboration with the Yakama Nation and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, are responsible for the Fish Reintroduction Project portion; and the Fish Reintroduction Project decision was made by the Yakama Nation and WDFW.
The Final Planning Report focuses on fish passage facilities at Cle Elum Dam and includes additional information on design, costs, and economic analysis. The ROD can be viewed online at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/eis/cle-elum/index.html