It sounds far fetched but, in essence, that's the technology being tested by Chelan County PUD at its Chiwawa and Eastbank Hatcheries . Hatchery managers told Commissioners this week that an effort to save water seems to be producing juvenile salmon and steelhead that appear stronger and travel faster to the ocean.
They've turned to circular tanks of fiberglass, with a constant recirculating water flow. The circular current helps dispose of waste more efficiently at a central drain, and the system requires only about one-eighth the water of a standard hatchery raceway.
With fish swimming against the circular current, managers say the system seems to be producing fish that are stronger and make it downstream faster. Click above for the explanation from fish biologist Josh Moraskas…
The PUD is trying to develop new facilities so it can move away from using the antiquated Eastbank Hatchery facilities on Turtle Rock Island just north of Rocky Reach Dam in the Columbia River.
The PUD is required to produce hatchery fish as part of its “no-net-impact” requirement in Habitat Conservation Plans for Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams.