the film
Commentaries and editorials

Feedback: BPA Fish Funding

by John McKern
Columbia Basin Bulletin - October 7, 2002

I am writing to comment on BPA's funding dilemma and how to obtain more funding for fish protective measures.

The surface bypass technology being developed by the Corps of Engineers presents an opportunity to achieve better fish survival while freeing up the use of over 90 percent of the water now being used for mass spill for juvenile fish passage. The three components (surface bypass collector (SBC), behavioral guidance structure (BGS), and raised spillway weir (RSW)) being tested by the Corps offer a mix of solutions that would work at all the Corps dams, as well as any other dams where juvenile fish pass through powerhouse turbines. The SBC could be used where fish are collected and transported. The BGS and RSW could be used where only bypass is desired.

This year, BPA estimated it spent over $1.5 billion to replace losses due to mass spill. If 90 percent of that loss could be avoided with better fish survival, BPA could "save" $1.35 billion. That would be more than enough to pay for installing the surface bypass systems at the eight Corps dams, and savings in future years could be applied to other fish restoration programs.

My question to the salmon managers is, "If you could achieve better fish passage with higher survival through use of surface bypass technology, and save money that could be used for other fish restoration projects, why would you continue to want to use mass spill?"

Related Pages:
Early Tests of New Fish Passage Technology Positive by Barry Espenson, Columbia Basin Bulletin

John McKern, Fish Passage Solutions
Feedback: BPA Fish Funding
Columbia Basin Bulletin, October 7, 2002

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation