The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a contract
last week for the construction of juvenile fish passage facilities at Cle Elum
Dam in the upper Yakima River basin in central Washington.
The $75,967,000 contract was awarded to
Spokane’s Garco Construction Inc. Sept. 17. Construction of helix, gate and
intake facilities at the dam is specifically to provide a safe downstream
passage from the reservoir for juvenile salmon, such as the sockeye introduced
recently to the reservoir by the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama
Nation. Construction is to begin next spring and be completed during the summer
“The fish passage project is a vital
partnership with the Yakama Nation and the State of Washington to restore
ecological connectivity and natural production of salmon,” said Project Manager
Richard Visser. “The construction of a helix, gate, and intake will provide a
safe downstream passage from the reservoir to the Cle Elum River for juvenile
salmon, including sockeye.”
Sockeye salmon have been returning to the
reservoir for about seven years after being eradicated in the 1930s with the
addition of the impassable Cle Elum Dam in the upper basin (sockeye need lakes
to rear). The Yakama reintroduction program has been trucking the salmon beyond
That project is a part of the Yakima Basin
Integrated Water Resource Plan, supported by the Washington Department of
Ecology’s Office of Columbia River (see CBB, October 21, 2016, “Re-introduced
Sockeye Salmon Returning In Growing Numbers To Upper Yakima Basin’s Lake Cle
According to Ecology information, the
downstream fish passage facility at Cle Elum will consist of a multi-level
inlet ramp with gated openings that will operate at various reservoir levels
and feed into a helical structure designed to maximize fish survival as they
travel to the downstream side of the dam.
The State of Washington and Reclamation
continue to fund the construction under a 50/50 cost-share agreement, according
to Ecology spokesperson Joye Redfield-Wilder in a tweet.
Lake Cle Elum on the Cle Elum River existed
prior to the dam, but the 165-foot high dam that opened in 1933 raised the
level of the lake at the same time it blocked passage for anadromous fish.
The Tribes chose the lake for its
reintroduction program because it is one of the largest in the basin and has
excellent habitat in the streams above the dam where sockeye can spawn, Yakama
Nation Fisheries research scientist Mark Johnston, said in 2016. Once the
passage facility is complete, it will open up about 30 miles of nearly pristine
habitat. It also will provide greater connectivity up and down the river for
bull trout, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Work under the contract involves constructing
the juvenile fish facility intake structure, gate chamber, and helix chamber
from the previously constructed secant pile shaft and tunnel, a BOR news
release says. Principal components are earthwork; cast-in-place and precast,
reinforced concrete features; structural steel, metal fabrications,
architectural features; and mechanical and electrical features.
The Cle Elum Dam is an earth-fill dam that is
owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation. Cle Elum Dam is located on the
Cle Elum River about 75 miles northwest of Yakima, Washington.
The BOR news release is at https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63230