Reintroduced Deschutes spring Chinook buck the trend

KTVZ highlights the Land Trust's work to bring Chinook back to protected lands.

MADRAS, Ore. - Disappointing returns of spring Chinook salmon are the norm across the Columbia River basin this year, including returns at the adult fish trap just below the Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project, near Madras, that are the lowest in years. But there’s a twist: Despite the poor returns, biologists at the Pelton trap report this is shaping up as one of the best years so far for returns of reintroduced spring Chinook that originated in the Deschutes River basin above the hydro project.

“This is exciting,” Megan Hill, the Portland General Electric biologist who leads the fisheries and water quality team at the hydro project, said in a news release Tuesday. “With the odds stacked against the fish this year due to ocean and river conditions outside the basin, the fact we’re seeing relatively strong upper basin returns is likely directly related to improvements we made in juvenile downstream fish passage two years ago...