Panel recommends spilling, barging of salmon

Mixed strategy recommended by independent panel for 2010

Chinook Salmon © Ken Cole

NOAA Fisheries wanted to barge all of the salmon from the Snake River around the dams and not spill any water over them because of the low water year that is predicted to be 54% of the normal flow. An independent panel said no and suggested that there be spill and barging due to a host of problems as a result of barging.

Some suggest that NOAA Fisheries wanted to avoid spilling so that more power could be generated by the dams.

Meanwhile the chinook salmon are returning in high numbers over Bonneville Dam with 7762 on the 19th and a cumulative total of 47721 spring chinook this year. You can see the numbers at the Fish Passage Center website.

Panel recommends spilling, barging of salmon


  1. Cutthroat Avatar

    Appears as of Monday, Fed’s have chosen to continue spills.

    Good news…I think I’ll head up there today and check on them!!!!

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      That is good news. It looks like 9014 chinook came over Bonneville yesterday. It looks like the big run predictions this year might be accurate.

    2. Cutthroat Avatar

      That is a big number. While I don’t fish for the Chinook, I do enjoy viewing them once they begin to bed down in September/October. When it comes to a wildlife viewing opportunity, for the past two years these fish have been a guarantee on their redds, sparring in numbers and easily viewed when the sun is high over head just a few steps off the highway. Yet it seems there is little public awareness of the event. For me this is just one more thing that makes the Sawtooth Valley such a wonderous place. Losing these inland runs would be tragic. It is a shame how little public awareness there is for these fish and their plight. In this case it appears we need to thank the commercial fisherman for being the squeaky wheel that greased the Fed’s action to continue the spills.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole