Giant fish weir heads upstream to Columbia dam - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Giant fish weir heads upstream to Columbia dam

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Associated Press - October 21, 2007 10:55 PM ET

WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) - A giant slide designed to help migrating salmon and steelhead get past 1 of the massive hydroelectric dams in Eastern Washington is headed upstream from Portland, Ore.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the spillway weir will be installed at the Lower Monumental Lock and Dam on the Snake River, near Kahlotus.

The weir is a 120-foot high, 80-foot wide, 2 million pound fish slide that will be fitted into the dam's existing spillway. It will allow juvenile salmon and steelhead to pass the dam near the water's surface as they migrate to the ocean.

The contraption left Portland on Saturday, attached to two grain barges being pushed by two tugboats.

Traveling at 4-5 miles per hour, it's expected to reach the Lower Monumental dam early Wednesday.

The corps says similar weirs at Lower Granite and Ice Harbor dams have allowed survival rates of 96% to 98% for fish using the slides to pass the dams.

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