Feds agree to reboot fish-passage project at Howard Hanson Dam, open upper Green River to salmon

The Seattle Times –

Salmon and steelhead could once again inhabit more than 100 miles of the upper Green River watershed now that the entire Washington congressional delegation has backed restarting a federal project to allow fish to pass the Howard Hanson Dam.

The fish-passage project could open even more habitat for chinook and coho salmon and steelhead than the celebrated Elwha Dam removal project, the largest in the world. The Howard Hanson Dam would remain intact but the work would double the amount of spawning habitat available to salmon and steelhead in the watershed — and open all of the best of it for the first time in more than a century.

All of the state’s congressional members, both U.S. senators and the 10 representatives in the House, signed a letter sent to leadership of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week, insisting the agency make salmon passage at the dam a top priority. The project is urgently needed to boost salmon runs to feed the endangered southern resident orca whales that frequent Puget Sound, lawmakers said in their letter.

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