Update on work at lakes Cushman and Kokanee

Leah Marquez-Glynn, Tacoma Power

How TPU is managing reservoirs and what has been done in the past year.

Goals of managing the reservoirs:

  • Downstream ecology of the North Fork of the Skokomish River
  • Recreation – summer operation elevation
  • Use of available storage to reduce peak down stream flows
  • Power production

We’re continuously monitoring discharge, in-flows, generator status of the reservoirs at Cushman and Kokanee. We’re always keeping an eye on weather and climate predictions. We have to be ready for the full potential of weather scenarios.

With this year’s drought, we worked proactively to manage the anticipated weather patterns.

There was a lot of rain and not so much snow this past winter, and we did in fact have record low in flows. Mid-April, we stopped running Cushman 2 dam, and only released minimum flows.

Tacoma worked with the FHC to modify the minimum flow regime in response to the 2015 drought conditions.

Andy Oldenburg – Tacoma Power, Fish facilities manager for the Hydroelectric Cushman Project

Salmon Reintroduction at Cushman

Upstream passage has been in operation since last year, bringing fish up from the bottom of the Lake Kokanee dam and move them up river. Downstream passage is functional too. We collect juvenile fish from Cushman (hatchery or wild) and bring them below the dams to release them.

We also do hatchery supplementation, and will work with chinook, steelhead, coho and sockeye to raise them in the Cushman facilities.

Restoration work in the river included modifications of Little Falls, which included carving out resting pools and passages for the fish. It was so steep, fish had a hard time getting up it.

Fish passage up Little Falls happened immediately after the work was done last fall. It’s functioning like we’d hope it would.

Sorting Facility at the top of the Kokanee dam: adult fish are sorted and transported to either the river, upstream in Cushman, into a hatchery for the broodstock, or removed from watershed b/c they are an invasive species – all part of partnership work with area groups to determine where these fish need to go to meet everyone’s needs.

In the fish collector – found chinook, bass, a frog, crayfish, and wild fish! It’s been interesting to see what we been¬†collecting in that facility.


Sockeye will be raised at Saltwater Park Hatchery (under construction)

Chinook, steelhead and coho will be raised at North Fork Skokomish Salmon Hatchery (under construction)

North Fork hatchery is currently being constructed on Lake Cushman.

Saltwater Park Hatchery is currently being constructed on Hood Canal  & Highway 101.