Massive Oregon Fish Passage Tower Earns National Recognition

First-of-its-kind facility restores downstream Deschutes River salmon migration

PORTLAND, Ore.--()--With “votes” from more than 100,000 downstream-migrating fish on the Deschutes River in 2010, a 273-foot-tall floating fish collection facility and underwater tower in Central Oregon has won top awards this month in Washington, D.C. from the National Hydropower Association and the American Council of Engineering Companies. The project previously earned national recognition as well from the Edison Electric Institute and the Associated General Contractors of America.

The tower is the key component of a comprehensive, $136 million effort to restore fish runs and improve habitat in the Deschutes basin, which Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon are pursuing in collaboration with more than 22 local, state and federal agencies, irrigation districts and environmental advocates. The fish recovery and habitat restoration program was developed as part of a relicensing agreement signed for the Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project in 2004. The hydro project and the tower are operated by Portland General Electric, which co-owns them with the Tribes.

On April 1, ACEC announced that PGE and the Tribes and their engineer of record on the project, CH2M HILL, were selected for the council’s Grand Award, which recognizes firms for projects that demonstrate a high degree of innovation, achievement, and value.

On April 5, NHA honored the project with its Outstanding Stewards of American Waters Award, which recognizes significant, innovative projects that serve as models for the hydro industry.

“We’re deeply honored by this recognition,” PGE President and CEO Jim Piro said, “but even more so we and our project partners are extremely pleased by the success this effort has had in reintroducing fish runs that had been blocked for decades, while at the same time allowing us to continue generating reliable hydroelectric power for our customers.”

“We are very pleased to be working with our project partners on the Tribe’s long-held goal of reestablishing harvestable, sustainable fish populations.” CTWS Secretary Treasurer Jody Calica said.

The facility, called a selective water withdrawal tower, combines fish collection with downstream temperature regulation and power generation at the 465-megawatt hydro project, improving water quality and allowing fish passage around a 3-dam complex that had prevented salmon and steelhead migration on the upper Deschutes River for more than 40 years. The first fish passed through the $115 million tower and related facilities in December 2009.

EEI presented PGE and the Tribes with its Edison Award for the tower project in 2010. The award is the electric utility industry’s highest honor and recognizes outstanding leadership and exceptional contributions to the industry.

AGC presented the tower project with a 2011 Build America Award for best new environmental construction. The award was accepted by Barnard Construction Company, Inc., which was the general contractor for the project.

More information, photographs, podcasts, and video about the selective water withdrawal tower and the fish and habitat restoration project on the Deschutes is available online at

About Portland General Electric

Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a fully integrated electric utility that serves approximately 821,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon. Visit our Web site at


Source: Portland General Electric Company


Steve Corson, 503-464-8444

Release Summary

A first-of-its-kind fish collection and selective water withdrawal tower in Central Oregon is winning national recognition for helping restore salmon runs while allowing continued power generation.


Steve Corson, 503-464-8444