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Wynoochee River Project

Fish and Wildlife Programs

Wynoochee fish collection facility

In 1994, Tacoma Power added a hydroelectric facility to the existing Wynoochee Dam.

To protect the fishery, Tacoma Power shuts 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.

Tacoma Power also operates a fish collection facility two miles downstream from Wynoochee Dam. A low barrier dam and a series of pools divert returning adult fish to a large holding pool. Anadromous fish, such as salmon and steelhead, are separated from other species. Most of the anadromous fish are loaded into a tank truck and hauled five miles upstream, past Wynoochee Lake, where they are released into the river to spawn.

Some adult steelhead are transported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Lake Aberdeen Hatchery for brood stock. The juvenile fish are returned to the Wynoochee River. When they return as adults, they provide recreational fishing opportunities.

The entire process of collecting and transporting fish is accomplished using flowing water and mechanical devices, with almost no handling by people. Limiting the amount of handling reduces stress and adverse affects on the fish.

Wildlife programs

Roosevelt elk on Wynoochee wildlife lands

Tacoma Power funds a program to enhance Roosevelt elk habitat in the Wynoochee River Project area. Tacoma Power contracts with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to create high-quality elk forage areas on 1,000 acres of land south of the Wynoochee River Project.