WHOOSHH Innovations Will Demonstrate Its Fish Passage Technology At Chief Joseph Dam, Last Stop For Migrating Columbia River Salmon

Whooshh Innovations next month will demonstrate at Chief Joseph Dam its fish passage technology, which moves adult salmonids over a dam through tubing rather than up fish ladders.

The Sept. 10 demonstration is part of an ongoing effort to study the feasibility of reintroducing salmon and steelhead above the Columbia River’s Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams.

Whooshh Innovations says working with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it has received “all necessary permits” to deploy “the Whooshh Passage Portal™ during the 2019 summer and fall chinook salmon runs.”

The Whooshh system will be anchored offshore on a floating barge near the base of the dam, to attract fish and pass them safely up to the top of the dam.

The company says features on the barge include:

* Volitional Entry – Fish swim into the system on their own;

* FishL Recognition™ – Whooshh machine-vision scanning produces 18 crystal-clear images of every fish, creating next-level data for improved fisheries management;

* Gatekeeper™ –Automated real-time sorting decisions are made for each fish.  This is key for selective fish passage as well as sorting hatchery v. wild and invasive species removal.

* Fish Migrator™ – Whooshh Innovations’ proprietary misted tubing safely and gently allows fish to continue on their migratory journey.

“Whooshh Innovations passes live fish safely and efficiently.  Using patented technology, Whooshh can enable fish to safely migrate over dams large and small, sort for invasive species, or simply transport fish efficiently around hatcheries,” said the company in a notice about the demonstration. “In addition to aiding fisheries restoration, Whooshh systems typically cost 80% less than fish ladders, and allow for up to 10% more water savings for agriculture or clean energy production.”  Whooshh Innovations is located in Seattle, WA and on the web at www.whooshh.com.

For a video on the passage system go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=77&v=zOulqloRRTI

The Chief Joseph Dam currently marks the farthest point salmon can migrate up the Columbia River system.  Whooshh Innovations representatives will be on-hand at the demonstration to explain the Whooshh system’s operation and answer questions.

Vincent Bryan, CEO of Whooshh, said the barge has an attraction flow to move fish to the entry point.

He said the permit allows the company to move 90 summer and fall chinook this season up to the top of the dam and then brought back down. This demonstration will not include moving the fish over the dam. The fish being transported are not listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The incidental take permit, Bryan said, limits the handling of wild steelhead and if that number is reached before the 90 fish are transported, the demonstration could end early. It’s not known long it will take to attract the 90 fish into the system.

The demonstration will take place at Chief Joseph Dam on the north side of the river, Just east of the hatchery at 38 Half Sun Way, Bridgeport, WA 98113, on Sept. 10, 1-3 p.m.

Additional information is available at:  https://www.whooshh.com/chief-joe-project

There is plenty of habitat available for reintroduction of spawning and rearing anadromous salmon and steelhead upstream of Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams, according to a June report by upper Columbia River tribes.

It was about 80 years ago that anadromous fish were blocked by Grand Coulee dam, but the tribes’ investigation into potential habitat upstream of the dam has found that the area could support as many as 17,500 spawning chinook salmon and steelhead and about 70,000 to as high as 750,000 sockeye, the tribes told the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee on June 11.

The study completed by the Upper Columbia United Tribes was called for by the Council in its 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program. According to a Council June 4 memorandum, the UCUT report, “Fish Passage and Reintroduction Phase 1 Report: Investigations Upstream of Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dams,” shows that most of the investigations the Council called for in the Phase 1 report have been completed. The Memo is at https://www.nwcouncil.org/sites/default/files/2019_0611_f2.pdf

The Phase 1 report includes habitat assessments, donor stocks and risk assessment, life cycle modeling and salmon survival potential in habitats above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams.

Making the Tribes’ case to move ahead on Phase 2, which includes designing and testing strategies and fish passage options at the two dams, D.R.Michel, UCUT Executive Director, said the blocked areas above the dams are “the most impacted of any in the region and the least mitigated.”

Phase 3 will review the results of Phase 2 to determine implementation and permanent inclusion to the Council Fish and Wildlife Program.

Also see:

— CBB, July 18, 2019, COUNCIL REQUESTS INDEPENDENT SCIENCE PANEL REVIEW UPPER COLUMBIA TRIBES’ REPORT ON RE-INTRODUCING SALMON/STEELHEAD ABOVE GRAND COULEE DAM https://www.cbbulletin.com/council-requests-independent-science-panel-review-upper-columbia-tribes-report-on-re-introducing-salmon-steelhead-above-grand-coulee-dam/

— CBB, June 13, 2019, UPPER COLUMBIA TRIBES’ PHASE I REPORT ON SALMON REINTRODUCTION/FISH PASSAGE ABOVE CHIEF JOSEPH/GRAND COULEE DAMS: ENOUGH UPSTREAM HABITAT TO SUPPORT OVER 17,000 SPAWNING CHINOOK, STEELHEAD; LARGER NUMBERS OF SOCKEYE https://www.cbbulletin.com/upper-columbia-tribes-phase-i-report-on-salmon-reintroduction-fish-passage-above-chief-joseph-grand-coulee-dams-enough-upstream-habitat-to-support-over-17000-spawning-chinook-steelhead-larger-numb/

— CBB, May 11, 2018, “Draft Assessment Looks at Habitat Above Grand Coulee to Support Salmon and Steelhead Reintroduction,” https://www.cbbulletin.com/draft-assessment-looks-at-habitat-above-grand-coulee-to-support-salmon-steelhead-reintroduction/

–CBB, September 22, 2017, “Council Updated On Assessing Stock, Habitat For Potential Salmonid Reintroduction Above Grand Coulee,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439607.aspx

— CBB, July 22, 2016, “Council Evaluates Fish Passage Systems That Might Be Used At High-Head Dams Blocking Salmonids,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/437176.aspx

— CBB, April 15, 2016, “Council Votes To Move Forward On Salmon/Steelhead Habitat Assessment Above Grand Coulee” http://www.cbbulletin.com/436490.aspx

–CBB, March 11, 2016, “Council FW Committee Moves Forward On Salmon Reintroduction Study Above Grand Coulee,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/436211.aspx

— CBB, Feb. 5, 2016, “Washington Legislature Considers Memorial For Salmon Re-Introduction In Upper Columbia Blocked Areas,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/435982.aspx

— CBB, December 18, 2015, “Council Moves Proposal For Evaluating Salmon Habitat Above Grand Coulee To Science Review,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/435731.aspx

— CBB, October 16, 2015, “Can Salmon, Steelhead Survive Above Grand Coulee Dam? Council Investigation May Provide Answer,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/435273.aspx

— CBB, September 18, 2015, “Council Moves Ahead With Plan To Assess Potential Salmon Habitat Blocked By Grand Coulee,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/435022.aspx

— CBB, Jan. 16, 2015, “Tribes Lay Out Process For Investigating Feasibility Of Salmon Reintroduction Above Grand Coulee Dam” http://www.cbbulletin.com/432935.asp

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