Tacoma Power wins national award for new Cushman hatcheries

Tacoma Power received its sixth-straight Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) Award from the National Hydropower Association (NHA) on May 2. The award, for Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement, honors two new hatcheries at the Cushman Hydroelectric Project in Mason County.

The hatcheries have been recognized for their incorporation of pioneering fish management approaches, such as circular tanks for rearing fish, an exceptional incubation system, an ultramodern chiller system for thermally marking fish and cutting-edge computer monitoring and alarm systems.

Completing the hatcheries is one of the final pieces in Tacoma Power’s recent expansion of its Cushman fisheries programs and facilities, which are part of its federal license to operate its dams. This is the fourth OSAW Award in a row awarded to Cushman-related projects.

The utility worked in conjunction with the Skokomish Indian Tribe, natural resource agencies and other stakeholders to design and build them. The North Fork Skokomish Salmon Hatchery, located next to Lake Kokanee, is dedicated to rearing spring Chinook, winter-run steelhead and coho. The Saltwater Park Sockeye Hatchery, on Hood Canal, is dedicated specifically to sockeye rearing.

The award was presented as part of the NHA’s annual Waterpower Week in Washington Conference in Washington, D.C.

“NHA is pleased to present Tacoma Power with the OSAW Award for Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement,” said Linda Church Ciocci, NHA’s executive director. “As part of its environmental stewardship efforts, Tacoma Power’s state-of-the-art hatcheries will help reintroduce and restore fish populations in the North Fork Skokomish River. Using the latest in technology, Tacoma Power’s hatcheries are emblematic of how the hydropower industry works to protect and preserve our nation’s rivers.”

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