Grant County PUD White River project on hold

Per Grant County PUD press release:
EPHRATA, Wash. A long-term plan setting the course for White River spring Chinook salmon for the next 13 years has been reached by Grant PUD, state, federal and tribal agency representatives, known as the Priest Rapids Coordinating Committee (PRCC). The plan will lead to an independent scientific review and ultimately set a course for the White River program beyond 2026.

Grant PUD Director of Natural Resources, Jeff Grizzel commented that, We are very pleased with the terms of the agreement. Our intent all along was to be a good neighbor while also caring for the impacted species; this agreement allows us to potentially do both. I believe this plan provides adequate time for us to develop a solution that better meets the needs of the local community as well as requirements outlined in our federal license.

Main elements of the agreement approved by the PRCC include: transferring Grant PUD’s requirement of producing 75,000 spring Chinook salmon smolts on the White River to Nason Creek through 2026, delaying any construction of hatchery facilities along the White River until at least 2026, continuing temporary spring acclimation of fish through 2016, monitoring the population through 2026, and conducting an independent scientific review of the White River program to determine if artificial supplementation should be considered post 2026. Each aspect of the agreement ensures that any future plans in the White River will continue to be based upon the best available science.

Grant PUD and fisheries co-managers have been implementing a spring Chinook program in the White River since 1997. The program is a requirement of Grant PUD’s federal license to operate Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams, which included development of facilities in the White River basin to support a hatchery supplementation program. A Chelan County hearing examiner last spring denied all necessary permits for Grant PUD to construct a proposed acclimation facility on the White River.

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