• Research helps continually improve safe passage for fish through the dams

    Action agencies do extensive research on safe and effective passage for juvenile fish migrating to the ocean as well as for adult fish returning to their home streams to spawn. This research helps to continually improve the effectiveness of hydrosystem operations and fish passage improvements. The agencies also conduct studies on water temperatures, water quality and the effectiveness of fish transportation.


    To track fish through the hydrosystem, the agencies tag both hatchery and wild juvenile fish with various tracking devices.  These tags help measure several different metrics, including the percentage survival of juvenile fish past each dam and the percentage of juvenile fish going out to the ocean that return.


    Spill at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.

  • The Anadromous Fish Evaluation Program

    Since 1952, the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers, Northwestern Division, has sponsored research, monitoring, and evaluation studies on the passage of anadromous fish past the eight dams and reservoirs on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers.  The Corps uses findings from the Anadromous Fish Evaluation Program (AFEP) to assist in making decisions about technologies and operations that will help provide safe passage for the fish.  AFEP objectives, experimental designs and methologies are coordinated with federal, state, and tribal fish agencies throughout the region.  Each year, AFEP researchers present results at a conference.   


    Link to 2012 AFEP presentations 

    Tests ensure dams meet fish survival standards

    The FCRPS BiOp calls for the FCRPS dams to achieve 96 percent average per dam survival for juvenile spring chinook and 93 percent for summer migrants by 2018. Some dams are meeting those standards today.


    Rigorous tests at the FCRPS dams estimate juvenile salmon and steelhead survival at each of the passage routes. See the performance standard testing methodology here.