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WFRC’s Research Fish Biologist Toby Kock was recently quoted in a news article on the potential implementation of a trap-and-haul program to move endangered fish around dams on the Skagit River in northern Washington.

The Seattle Times article “Seattle City Light could truck endangered fish around its Skagit River dams” discusses the need for providing fish passage at the dams and the option of using trucks to move endangered fish around currently impassable dams. Seattle City Light—a community-owned utility delivering electricity to 460,000 business and residential customers—has announced a plan to upgrade its hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River with fish passage. Seattle City Light’s current license to operate the dams expires in two years. The utility is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to renew the license for up to 50 years but will need to consider the feasibility of fish passage as part of the new license.

WFRC is well known for our work in addressing fish passage and species introduction or reintroduction questions. Our teams have been working with partners to address unique and challenging fish passage questions and innovative solutions at high head dams throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Times article references a 2020 review of trap-and-haul programs conducted by Toby Kock and his colleagues from Anchor QEA, University of Idaho, and Oregon State University that evaluates 17 trap-and-haul programs across the Pacific Northwest. The review has become an important reference for those considering trap-and-haul programs, as it evaluates the various performance and efficacy of current programs and demonstrates that it can be an important tool to maintain and recover salmon populations.

Together with fellow WFRC scientist Dave Beauchamp, who has extensive experience with the Skagit River watershed and with the ecological feasibility of introducing fish above dams, we can help to inform decisions on the Skagit River. Working with our teams across the center, and closely with our partners, helps to find effective solutions for each of these large project decisions.

Seattle City Light could truck endangered fish around its Skagit River dams | The Seattle Times

River flowing between two heavily forested banks under heavy cloud cover
Skagit River, near Concrete, WA

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