OROFINO - In late December 2021, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game notified U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District officials of reports of numerous dead steelhead downstream of Dworshak Dam. During an investigation, it was confirmed that approximately 30 deceased adult steelhead trout were visible in Dworkshak’s downstream channel.
This event reportedly coincided with start-up procedures for a turbine at Dworshak Dam. A preliminary internal review concluded that all required and set procedures for turbine start-up were followed. These procedures, which include using compressed air to lower the water level below the spinning turbine blades, are designed to greatly reduce incidences of fish mortality, though, they do not eliminate all risk.
Currently, the US Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District is gathering more information about this incident and will release any findings of significant interest as they become available.