The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun implementing its 2012 Fish Operations Plan addressing Columbia River Basin juvenile salmon and steelhead migration to the ocean.
The FOP calls for spring spill to begin at the lower Snake River projects Tuesday (April 3) and at the lower Columbia River projects April 10, with summer spill planned for later this year. The annual fish operations plans for fish migration seasons are prepared by the Corps and are coordinated with states, tribes and other federal agencies in the region.
The 2012 FOP includes operations similar to last year's for spring and summer fish passage seasons, including spill and flow to provide timely and safe passage, adjustments to river operations and transport of juvenile fish.
The Corps also will conduct performance standard tests this spring at Little Goose, Lower Monumental, McNary, and John Day dams and at Bonneville and The Dalles dams during the summer. High flows prevented summer tests in 2011. The NOAA Fisheries biological opinion calls for the eight federal dams on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers to meet performance standards of 96 percent average per-dam survival for spring migrating fish and 93 percent survival for summer migrants.
The most recent water supply forecast (April–August) for the Columbia River Basin is 109 percent of normal as measured at The Dalles Dam and 100 percent of normal for the Snake River Basin, April-July period, as measured at Lower Granite Dam. As a result, dams on the Snake and lower Columbia rivers have been spilling excess water since March 29.
"We anticipate continued high survival for juvenile fish at all dams this year," said Rock Peters, senior program manager for the Corps’ Northwestern Division.