Wynoochee River Project
Built in 1972, the Wynoochee Dam is owned by the city of Aberdeen and located in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains in Grays Harbor County. In 1994, Tacoma Power added a hydroelectric facility to the existing dam to generate clean, renewable energy.
We also operate a fish collection facility 2 miles downstream from the dam. We use a low barrier dam and a series of pools to divert returning adult fish to a large holding pool where salmon and steelhead are separated from other species. The fish are then loaded into a tank truck and hauled 5 miles upstream, past Wynoochee Lake, where they are released into the river to spawn.
Some of the adult steelhead are transported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Lake Aberdeen Hatchery for brood-stock, while the juvenile fish are returned to the Wynoochee River. When they return as adults, they provide recreational fishing opportunities. To reduce stress and other adverse effects on the fish, we collect and transport them using flowing water and mechanical devices, with almost no handling by people.
To protect the fishery, we shut down the power plant for 77 days each spring to allow salmon and steelhead smolts to avoid the hydroelectric turbine and pass downstream through outlets in the dam.