Yakima looks at new fish technology - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima looks at new fish technology

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Officials say the Whoosh is nearly half the cost of a normal fish ladder. Officials say the Whoosh is nearly half the cost of a normal fish ladder.

YAKIMA, Wash.---The Bureau of Reclamation is teaming up with Yakama Nation in hopes of bringing the latest fish technology right to Yakima. It's called the Whoosh.

"The beauty of this is that it's probably less stressful on the fish and cost a lot less money than a traditional fish pass ladder," Bureau of Reclamation's Project Manager Walt Larrick said. 

It's 1100 feet of a high pressurized tube that will transport fish to the Yakima Basin. 

"This unique plan has a commitment to put fish passages at the reservoirs in the Yakima Basin which do not have any fish passages at all," Larrick said. 

The fish start their "whoosh experience" with two tubes inside the building. 

"We're actually testing this with their hatchery program, which allows us to run fish through this new system and keep them alive, to verify that no harm was done to them," Larrick said. 

One fish goes into each tube, leaving one to stop before the full whoosh and the other to climb the 1100 feet. This allows the Bureau and Yakama Nation to compare the groups of fish, one being the hatchery fish and the other being the new whoosh fish. 

"These fish can move about 25 feet per second," Larrick said.

Which means this tube trek is over in just seconds. 

"The key to this is to limit the stress on the fish, when a fish has to go over a ladder, they exert a lot of energy," Larrick said. "With this, they exert no energy, they're on a ride."

And this ride could be the new norm. 

"This is going to be an opportunity in the Yakima Basin to bring back the fish that were here hundreds of years ago, which means, more fish in the basin," Larrick said. 

But this is only the testing phase.

"We're optimistic that this may be one of the techniques we can use," Larrick said. 

Now they await the results of the Whoosh, in hopes of bringing fish closer to you.

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