By George Plaven
PENDLETON, Ore. — The Columbia Basin’s 2015 salmon season is the second-strongest year since the federal dams were built nearly 80 years ago.
A record number of fall chinook salmon returned up the Columbia River past McNary Dam in 2015, continuing on to spawning grounds at Hanford Reach, the Snake River and Yakima Basin.
More than 456,000 of the fish were counted at McNary Dam, breaking the facility’s previous record of 454,991 set in 2013. An estimated 200,000 fall chinook made it back to Hanford Reach, the most since hydroelectric dams were first built on the Columbia nearly 80 years ago. Read more
The Eugene Water & Electric Board voted unanimously Monday to commit up to $750,000 toward the restoration and future management of 260 forested acres along both sides of the McKenzie River that a local land trust is seeking to purchase.
EWEB commissioners said the funding to the McKenzie River Trust would be a wise investment as it protects water quality on the waterway — the utility’s sole source of drinking water — and potentially could help reduce its costs to secure a new operating license for its largest hydroelectric generation project farther upriver. Read more
By Steve Wright and Matthew Rooney
The Columbia River Treaty has been one of the most successful international agreements ever, partly due to the leading role played by regional entities on both sides of the border in its management. It has produced billions of dollars of benefit for American and Canadian residents of the Pacific Northwest, and showed the world how a cross-border river basin could be managed to benefit two countries.
But circumstances have changed, and it is time to modernize the treaty. Renegotiation should begin now, and the United States should not hesitate to provide notice of intent to terminate the applicable treaty provisions to ensure a serious negotiation. Read more
YAKIMA, Wash. – Plans for a proposed $2.5 billion reservoir system to generate power south of Goldendale have found an unlikely partner: a Chinese hydropower company.
The project is billed as a large-scale energy storage facility that could help utilities across the Northwest and California get the most value out of the growing supply of wind and solar power. Read more
Herald and News
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a draft plan Monday for recovering threatened Snake River fall chinook salmon – fish that have to pass eight Columbia and Snake River dams to reach their spawning grounds.In the past, nearly a half million of these fish returned to the Snake River each year. But with overfishing, dam construction and habitat loss, those numbers dropped to just a few hundred by 1992, when the fish were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Read more
By Associated Press
Seattle Post Intelligencer
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Helena Valley Irrigation District is looking to retrofit its existing pump plant at Canyon Ferry Dam to produce hydropower. Read more