New weir helps fish at Little Goose Dam

STARBUCK -- Migrating juvenile salmon and steelhead are using a newly opened spillway weir in-stalled at Little Goose Lock and Dam, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The weir, which opened April 3, was installed as part of an effort by the Corps to improve fish survival.

"Millions of juvenile salmon and steelhead mi-grate down the Snake and Columbia rivers each spring," project manager Jack Sands said in a statement.

"This weir marks a pretty big milestone among those improvements. Surface passage facilities are now in place at all Corps dams on the lower Snake River."

A spillway weir structure is fitted into a dam's spillbay, raising the spillway opening to create a surface-oriented passage for out-migrating fish.

Juvenile salmon and steelhead can safely pass over a raised spillway crest more efficiently than with conventional spill while reducing migration delays at the dam, the Corps said.

The spillway weir will be tested during the 2009 fish passage season to evaluate how many fish are using the spillway weir, as well as the juvenile passage survival.