NACHES, Wash -- More salmon are surviving the trip to and from the Yakima River Basin. Fish biologists say runs are growing -- in part because of fish screens placed in several local rivers.
Throughout much of the Yakima Basin, one of the most fertile and productive regions in Washington, a network of water diversions (canals and ditches) carry water to crops fed by gravity or pumps. Unfortunately, unscreened diversions that supply life-giving water to crops are deadly for fish.
Over the past 14 years, local officials have worked together to build fish screens. These diversions help keep fish on their migratory path -- not on a deadly course down irrigation canals and ditches.
"That's right no single agency can do this alone," said Scott Simms of Bonneville Power. "Washington Fish and Wildlife, Bonneville Power Administration, The Bureau of Reclamation, and the Yakima Nation all have collaborated together with irrigators and farmers to work on this"
The average return for Chinook salmon to the Yakima river has increased from to about three thousand back in 1999 to over 12-thousand now in 2006.