Local News

Spiral fish slide planned at Cle Elum Dam

YAKIMA, Wash. - Plans to restore salmon to the Cle Elum River above the Cle Elum Dam call for a unique spiral water slide to let juvenile fish head downstream.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the Bureau of Reclamation is working on a five-year $100 million project with the Yakama Nation.

The fluctuating water level in the Cle Elum Reservoir makes it impossible to use the type of fish passages typically found on Columbia River dams. The spiral water slide lets juvenile fish swim in at varying water heights. Adult fish heading upstream will be trapped and trucked around the dam.

The goal is to open 41 miles of salmon habitat. If successful, the fish water slide could be added to four other Yakima Basin dams on Rimrock, Bumping, Kachess and Keechelus lakes.