a salmon swimming

Congratulations to the Deschutes Valley Water District for heading up a 10-year effort that achieved a significant milestone: In November, the first steelhead since the 1960s swam unaided into the upper reaches of the Crooked River, a tributary of the Deschutes River. The fish made the journey up the not too long ago constructed fish ladder at Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project, situated 12 miles southwest of Madras.

The district collaborated with14 public, personal and nonprofit companions on the $11 million project, which opens up 108 miles of habitat to fish beforehand unable emigrate upstream to spawning areas. Before completion of the new ladder, Deschutes Valley Water District needed to lure fish and haul them to the river above the dam.

Other fish, together with rainbow trout and whitefish, have additionally begun utilizing the fish passage, which has 38 gently ascending swimming pools that present ample area to relaxation throughout the upstream swim. Deschutes Valley Water District raised the current dam three ft to create enough move to draw fish into the ladder. The elevated height delivers a beneficial facet profit: The 4.3-megawatt hydroelectric project will generate an estimated 1,000 megawatt hours of further renewable energy yearly. Energy Trust of Oregon offered technical help and a money incentive of $450,000 on the hydroelectric portion of the project.

The Opal Springs project is an thrilling demonstration of a public/personal partnership that’s delivering a number of advantages to Central Oregon: inexpensive entry to top quality consuming water, wildlife restoration, clear energy technology that offsets the prices of operations for public infrastructure, financial advantages by protecting water consumer charges low, and enhancements to our public infrastructure.

Energy Trust is proud to be considered one of the technical and monetary companions on this achievement, in coordination with the Deschutes Valley Water District. Other companions concerned included the Oregon Water Resources Department, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Portland General Electric, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, Trout Unlimited, and the Crooked River Watershed Council.

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