Posts Tagged ‘Deschutes River Passage


Deschutes River Passage: Restoring Runs & What All Goes Into It.

“A 12-pound male salmon, one of thousands of Chinook that biologists and volunteers released into the Upper Deschutes tributaries above the Pelton-Round Butte Hydro Project in 2008, has made history. It’s the first fish to return. A fish with its right maxillary bone clipped — a marker indicating it was released in the Upper Deschutes tributaries, swam into the Pelton fish trap on May 25. The fish had migrated down the Deschutes River in 2009, spent two years in the Pacific Ocean and swam up the Columbia River and 100 miles up the Deschutes.”                                                                                                                   

The first Chinook to return to a release area of the upper Deschutes River.

The Deschutes Passage has been an interesting project to study on many levels. The passage way construction, introduction of steelhead and salmon fry into upper tributaries of the Crooked, Metolius and Deschutes Rivers, habitat reconstruction, club participations, stream flow efforts….all the associated issues with getting Steelhead and Salmon to return above Pelton Dam. It is worth going back and reviewing the news releases and ‘science’ behind this 15 year long project if you have any interest in stream restorations or ocean going species. This returning fish is not new info. The piece is over a year old, but the project as a whole is worth digging into including recent news of some concern about the sockeye run.

 Deschutes River Passage   The archives of the Bend Bulletin might be useful also

PGE Deschutes’ River Passage Project Update?

There has not been an update on PGE’s Deschutes’ River Project’s status since August 2010. Given the significance of the project on the most notable (ok, probably one of the most notable) rivers in Oregon it seems there is only a trickle of output re the project.  Scot Lawrence ( is noted as a contact point for ‘Fish passage and stream/habitat enhancement’.  What is the current status of the project, projections, upsides/downsides of the project so far? Scot?


Deschutes (River) Passage Update (Smolts Moving)

“This present project – planning, modeling, designing and constructing the facility – started 15 years ago. The fact that we are finished and are working hard on actually operating the system is hard for me to assimilate. But as I write this, our partners from the Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife and the Confederated Tribes Fisheries Group are planning to release spring Chinook fry upstream the first week of March. This will be the third consecutive year of Chinook releases. In May, for the fourth year, several hundred thousand steelhead fry will be liberated into their historic habitat in stream reaches above the dam.”

Deschutes Passage


Deschutes River Passage Kaput!!! (now what?)


‘Yeah great idea. NOT. Now that there has been a MAJOR setback because if the accident the other day all the smolt looking to get to sea will be unable to do so. I guess they create a few more trout to fish for in Billy Chinook and a few land locked salmon.’ Comment by Brian Meade

“In 2008, volunteers and wildlife staff placed 140,000 spring chinook fry in the Metolius River, said Mike Gauvin, Pelton mitigation coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Those that survived the year started migrating this spring, and biologists don’t know how many are already in the reservoir, Gauvin said, but it’s probably less than half.

To catch the ones that are still on their way down the Metolius, biologists will add three traps to the two already in place on the Metolius, he said. People will check those traps daily, and truck any fish caught in them to the Lower Deschutes where they can swim to the Columbia River and on to the Pacific Ocean.”


 ‘Over the weekend, a $100 million fish passage broke during construction on Lake Billy Chinook, near Madras. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Portland General Electric spent Wednesday contemplating how to fix the fish passage – and who will pay for it.”


Deschutes Fish Passage Studies (site has new data)

The Deschutes Fish Passage Program has updated its site to include studies on the movement and survival rate of fish. Keep track of this site as this new project evolves.



Deschutes River Passage (tower almost done~additonal habitat improvements likely) 3/27/2009


“Once the construction is complete, engineers and crews will spend the next month thoroughly testing and balancing the system. This unique tower is designed to selectively draw cold water from the bottom of Lake Billy Chinook and warm water from the surface during different parts of the year to meet downstream water temperature and quality requirements. Withdrawing water from the surface of the lake will also create surface guidance current to attract migrating young salmon and steelhead into the floating top structure. ”

“As the runs of steelhead and salmon become more firmly established, PGE and the Tribes plan to add facilities that will allow the fish to migrate past the dams with less human interaction…”

“In addition to these projects, PGE and the Tribes have established the Pelton Round Butte Fund to assist the efforts of local watershed and conservation groups and public agencies. This fund of more than $20 million supports various fish passage and habitat improvement measures in the Deschutes Basin. PGE and the Tribes will continue to monitor the whole fish passage project to determine how well the salmon and steelhead are doing and what is needed to support their return to the upper reaches of the rivers.”

Check out the PGE site for Supporting Projects re interesting watershed/habitat projects that millions of dollars are being spent upon. Also, in concert with this, check out Water Watch of Oregon. They note these expensive projects can be ineffective if the water drawdown is so severe for ranching etc. A concerted effort is in order.


Upper Metolius R. (planted Chinook juv’s growing and moving)

Of the 147 fish captured, 104 were implanted with a 12-mm Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag. Small computer chips in these tags identify individual fish throughout their life span, with the use of a detector. We are quite curious whether some of these tagged fish will be detected entering the new Selective Water Withdrawal fish passage facility at Round Butte Dam next spring. We will have an automatic detector there.


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