July 14, 2011
A controversy is brewing over the Grant
County PUD’s plans for salmon restoration work on the White River. The PUD has applied for permits to Chelan
County and government agencies to build ponds and tanks on 18 acres of wetlands it purchased north of Lake
Grant County PUD hopes to begin construction by May 2012 and be operational by
fall 2013. It would fill the ponds with water from the White River to hold and acclimate about 150,000 spring
Chinook smolts. Migratory fish held in river water imprint to that waterway and hopefully return there to
Officials say the project would save the endangered fish from extinction on the
White River, and fulfill a requirement to compensate for fish lost to the Grant County PUD’s Columbia River
dams: Priest Rapids and Wanapum.
Opponents say the White River is too sensitive and
unique to meddle with in any way, and that hatchery raised fish could out-compete wild species. They want to
maintain the river in its natural state.
Today we examine this issue from both sides,
starting with the Grant County PUD’s plans. Isaac Kaplan-Woolner spoke with Fisheries Program Supervisor