CONCRETE, Wash. - Huge numbers of sockeye salmon are making a man-made round-trip around the Baker River dams near Concrete.
Puget Sound Energy says its system above the dam has collected more than 341,000 juvenile sockeye to transport around the dams so they can make their way to the Pacific, and now a new state-of-the-art trapping facility below the dam is helping returning salmon make it back to their native spawning grounds.
PSE biologists say it's moving them more quickly, efficiently and safely than ever before.
"The numbers are very heartening," said Paul Wiegand, PSE vice president of Power Generation.
PSE and other Northwest hydro-power producers are under pressure by federal and state agencies to improve fish passage at their dams.
The Baker River project appears to be meeting the obligation. PSE managers say fish migrations depend on a lot of factors, but feel the millions of dollars they spent on the Baker are at least partly responsible to this year's record-breaking downstream migrations.