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EWEB Releases More Water To McKenzie River To Protect Salmon

Eugene Water & Electric Board

 Salmon are heading up the McKenzie River early this year, and that’s motivated Eugene Water and Electric Board to divert more water to the river to enable their migration.


Thursday, EWEB decided to reduce the amount of water it diverts to the Walterville Powerhouse by 10 percent. This will help spring Chinook swimming upriver to spawn. It also improves conditions for recreation. EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood said they’d already decided to make the adjustment, but had to act sooner because we’ve had such a dry April and May.

“We started hearing from some of our partners like Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and some of the McKenzie River Guides that they were already seeing the adult Spring Chinook Salmon have already arrived at the McKenzie River which is 3-4 weeks early,” Harwood said.

He said even though snowpack was above normal this year, stream flows are below median. This is the third year EWEB has voluntarily decreased the amount of water it diverts to the Walterville powerhouse.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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