Wanapum Dam crack forces $7M in fish ladder work

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by Associated Press

KREM.com

Posted on April 12, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 13 at 8:40 AM

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) -- A crack in the Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River and the ensuing reduction of water levels have prompted crews to spend $7 million on fish ladders for chinook salmon.
 
Existing fish ladders at the Rock Island and Wanapum dams are being extended to allow the chinook to reach their spawning grounds.

MORE: Water pressure may have caused Wanapum Dam crack
 
Divers discovered a 65-foot crack across part of Wanapum Dam's concrete spillway in February, and workers have lowered the water level 26 feet to reduce pressure on the dam. That left the fish ladders there unusable.

RELATED: 2nd set of human bones found behind Wanapum Dam
 
At the Rock Island dam upriver, the ladders are usable for now, but crews are worried they won't be as levels drop further this summer.
 
About 1,200 to 1,500 spring chinook will soon be passing the Wanapum dam per day.

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