Tribes, PGE award $4.5 million for fisheries

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and hydro partner Portland General Electric awarded $4.5 million in grants for fisheries, wildlife and water quality improvements. The grant awards go to 13 specific projects in the Deschutes basin.  The grants range in size from $51,000 to $1.25 million.

This year’s $4.5 million in habitat improvement grants add to the $26.5 million in tribal-PGE grants over the past 15 years. The tribes and PGE established the grant funding in 2005, as part of the federal relicensing of the Pelton-Round Butte hydro project.  The dams are an emissions free and renewable source of energy, generating enough power to serve a city the size of Salem.

“The tribes continue to believe that working together is more effective than trying to accomplish objectives alone,” said Jim Manion, general manager of Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprises.

The tribes, PGE, federal and state agencies selected the 13 projects for funding during the 2020 grant cycle. The projects are located over a stretch of river from Whychus Creek in the south to Log Springs Meadow north of Warm Springs; and from east at the Ochoco National Forest to Link Creek, west of Black Butte.

As part of the 2005 relicensing, the tribes, PGE, local, state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations committed to restore historic salmon and steelhead runs that were cut off from the middle and upper Deschutes Basin. Fish access was cut off with the construction in the 1950s and 1960s of the Pelton-Round Butte dams.

Fish access was re-established upstream from the dams in 2010. Since that time more than 1.4 million juvenile salmon and steelhead have been given access to migrate to the ocean; while adult fish have returned to the project area every year since.

Spawning has now been confirmed near the Bowman dam on the Crooked River, in Whychus Creek at Camp Polk, and above Camp Sherman on the Metolius River.

The tribes, PGE and partners share the long-term goal of building sustainable and harvestable runs of chinook and sockeye salmon and summer steelhead in the mid- and upper Deschutes basin. The grants program focuses on using science to adapt reintroduction strategies, addressing challenges in returning the fish to their historic habitat after a four-decade absence.  An inter-active ‘roadmap’ of reintroduction efforts is available online. See the site:

PRGFishCommittee.com

“When we started our long-term reintroduction program on the Deschutes, we recognized the importance of investing not just in fish passage, but also in quality fish habitat,” said Megan Hill, the PGE biologist who leads the fisheries and water quality team at Pelton-Round Butte.

“Through the Pelton fund, we’ve been able to support the incredible work of our partners throughout the region, and we’re proud to continue the basin-wide collaboration with our 2020 grants.”

 

The Confederated Tribes and PGE have also launched a new grant opportunity specifically benefitting Pacific lamprey in the lower Deschutes River. Like the salmon, the lamprey are ecologically and culturally significant to river ecosystems, and have experienced population decline over the decades.  By contributing $1.5 million to restoration and research projects targeting lamprey, the tribes and PGE hope to learn more about how to serve these unique and often-overlooked creatures.  Interested applicants can find more information at:

portlandgeneral.com/lampreyfund

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