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.