Wednesday April 19, 2023


In an effort to make the journey easier for young salmon and steelhead fish traveling to the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of water over spillways at dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. 

This annual spring spill has taken place since the mid-1990s and helps decrease the time it takes juvenile salmon and steelhead to move through the system of dams to get to the Pacific Ocean. It gives them a way to travel the rivers without passing through a turbine – the part of the dam that spins to generate electricity. 

On the lower Columbia River, the spill began on April 10 and on the lower Snake River it began April 3.  

“For the past several years, we have worked with our regional partners to operate the dams in a manner that is as beneficial as possible for fish including out-migrating juvenile salmonids, returning adult salmon, steelhead and lamprey as well as resident fish” said Tim Dykstra, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Northwestern Division Fish Policy lead. 

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