Utility district stops hauling fish around Wanapum Dam

BEVERLY, Wash. (AP) -- Efforts to drive fish around the Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams on the Columbia River have been suspended after a study found dam modifications for migrating adult salmon were working.

The Grant County Public Utility District started trapping and hauling fish in April, as the first of 20,000 spring chinook salmon arrived in the Vantage area.

Officials were concerned the drawdown behind the cracked Wanapum dam would prevent adult salmon from using fish ladders to complete their upstream journey to spawn.

The Ellensburg Daily Record reports that water levels behind the dam were lowered 26 feet in response to the 2-inch wide, 65-foot-long crack discovered in Wanapum Dam in February. Once the water level was lowered, the crack stabilized. And studies showed the modified fish ladders were working.