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August 22, 2012     The New Era Paper
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August 22, 2012
 

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Page 16 Vc~t I1~ C~'~k-'~MMI INIITV " ra - August 22, 2012 From page 1 and begin preparatory work within the next month. Construction will continue through early 2014. In addition to closures of parts of the park, the project will result in traffic controls on Foster Dam Road this fall. The east end of the park will be perma- nently removed from public use to accommo- date the new facility, said spokesman Scott Clemans, but he said he understands that it will not permanently close the shoreline where people normally fish, on both sides of the mouth of Wiley Creek. Fishermen will still be able to get as far as the existing no fishing signs. Brett Boyd, manager of the South San- tiam Fish Hatchery, said the new facility will improve the handling of native fish, which, since the hatchery was built in 1968 and until recently, have been enclosed in a bell at the base of the dam's face, then elevated and re- leased over the dam into the Middle Fork of the Santiam River. Before the wild fish are separated and released, they congregate with hatchery fish below the dam. All the fish are trapped and treated to ward off disease if they are slated to go on upriver or serve as hatchery brood- stock, then separated and sent upriver, to the hatchery, or "recycled" downriver to give fishermen another shot at catching them. That Images courtesy of U.S. ArmyCorps of Engineers This aerial view show the location of the planned fish passage facility to be built next to Andrew Wiley Park. ing area, but we anticipate keeping at least some sections of the park open for public use F is h Fac ility throughout construction," said Tami Schroed- er, Willamette Valley Project p~k manager. system has created some problems. Some short-term closures of the boat ~,-~ ~.~- ~-~.: '~:'-' "They found out that when they use the ramp are also likely, Schroeder said, but it bell, the fish fall back over the dam and get in- will remain open as much as possible, par- ,-i ~ jured," Boyd said. "When you only have one ticularly during fishing seasons :.:~L'.~.:~ ~ ---.~ - "~'"'~ spot to put fish, you have to handle certain Schroeder also warned that heavy equip- groups of fish multiple times until you mine ment and vehicles will regularly enter and out hatchery fish. We feel that the current trap exit the site, possibly resulting in short-term ~ ~ ~ is inefficient and hard on the fish. It's harder traffic delays. Flaggers may be on site during for us to get fish through the project." heavy traffic periods. ~ More recently, the fish are collected at A small amount of construction in the the base of the dam and sorted by hand into forebay, the water intake for turbines in the trucks and then transported up or down- dam, is also required, so traffic control may stream, be implemented at times on Foster Dam ~ The Corps experimented earlier this year Road . with downstream passage for smolts, Clem- Upgrading this facility, along with oth- ans said. Data are not available yet, but an- ers, is one of the measures called for in the This section of the facility, located at the upper end ofthefish ladder, will holdfish until they ecdotal evidence from the experiments sug- National Marine Fisheries Service's 2008 bi- can be sorted into wild fish for transport upstream, or hatchery fish. gests that the smolts survive best through a ological opinion, which addresses protection . tow-water weir in the spillway, of endangered Upper Willamette Basin spring S O rtin g F ac i I ity The Corps tested passage over the spill- Chinook salmon and winter steelhead. way and through.the power plant turbines. The new facility will allow hands-free The question the other direction is how collection, sorting and transportation of wild , to get them up river when they return a few fish above the dam to allow them to spawn years later, Clemans said. "That's what this naturally. facility is designed to allow us to do." The existing fish ladder will be used up It allows a less stressful hands-free to Pool 17, where a new transport channel mechanism to move fish upstream, he said. will take fish to a processing facility. The Instead of getting the fish in tanks and then system includes a false weir in which fish sorting them by hand, fish will swim up the will jump onto a flume that will drain most ladder into a series of flumes that operators of the water away from them as they enter an can divert to different pools, anesthetic tank. Broodstock and fish that will As fish move through the system, the op- be donated to the Food Bank will be held in erators can see whether each fish is a salmon short-term ponds until they can be processed or steelhead, wild or hatchery and direct them into those channels. /,~'~" / / to the proper pool. Wild fish will be trails- Boyd said the new system is expeected to c.~ . ported upstream bY truck' while hatchery fish make the pr cess f m ving fish uP the riverl ~ ~ may be sent downstream for fishermen, taken and processing hatchery steelhead andsalmon -'7 ~. to the hatchery for spawning, sold for food, "a lot more efficient and easier on us. used as fertilizer or-taken for other purposes. Boyd said he was able to help design the "We do all of this without having to new system -"a very interesting process." physically handle them, without having to "A lot of stuff we were doing manually take them out of the water," Clemans said. with a dip net and two arms will- be done The fish end upin raised tanks that are poured more efficiently " he said. "We won't have to into waiting trucks, lift fish. We will be able to slide fish around Under the current arrangement, fish con- on a table. I think no matter how it tums out, gregate below the dam, increasing their risk it's better than what we've got." of disease in close proximity to one another, He said he doesn't believe favorite fish- Boyd said. ing holes below Camp Koinonia on the north "The main driving force of this "whole bank, and near the mouth of Wiley Creek on thing is to try to improve these facilities for the south, will be affected by the new con- the benefit of introducing wild stock, so we struction, though he said the numbers of fish can efficiently deal with hatchery fish and in some of the holes that "rely on the dam mine wild fish out of that population," Boyd backing fish up" might not have as many fish said. " We hope this results in less disease in them. and less injuries." "All in all, it will be better for the gen- The Corps selected the site because it eral population," he said. has the largest amount of clear sPace avail- Closure schedules are not set yet, Clem- able and is already Corps property, Clemans ans said, but information will be available said. through the press and via Facebook, Twitter "We will also temporarily close other and the Portland District website. parts of the park for workers to use as a stag- Clemans does not anticipate any closures This close-up of the sorting facility shows how fish will be channeled onto tables and then moved to appropriate tanks after being identified and sorted. on Foster Dam Road on Aug. 29, when a rail- Santiam that day. road repair crew will close Pleasant Valley The project will most likely require only Road, which should allow the road to rune- single lane closures on Foster Dam Road, he tion as an alternate route across the South said. Hatchery chief" Good run so far The run of spring Chinook salmon and wouldn't be surprised if the total reaches summer steelhead has been "well above av- around 7,000. erage" this year," Brett Boyd, manager of The average steelhead run - normally the South Santiam Fish Hatchery, said this 4,700 per year - is up to 6,400. week. Boyd said that, though the season for "We've had a really good fish run this Chinook is closed, recycling of steelhead year," he said. will continue till the end of the month. Hatchery staff have trapped 5,800 "There are still fish in the system," he spring Chinook, which normally average said. "I know people who fish in November about 4,300 per year, and Boyd said he and still catch steelhead."