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President’s Budget includes $500 million to support Green River fish passage, water supply, flood risk management

Howard A. Hanson Dam, King County, Washington.

Posted on March 13, 2024

The President’s Budget request for Fiscal Year 2025 includes $500 million for construction of a downstream fish passage facility at Howard A. Hanson Dam on the Green River.

This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District project will restore the biological connection to more than 100 miles of high-quality salmon spawning habitat upriver from the dam, which currently is a barrier to migrating salmon. This is a 45% increase of total spawning habitat area on the Green River.

Howard Hanson Dam was built to protect the people and infrastructure of the Green River Valley from historical catastrophic flooding. The dam has prevented an estimated $23 billion in flood damage since it’s completion in 1962. The dam includes other benefits such as providing clean drinking water to the people of Tacoma, Covington, and other areas, fish conservation and ecosystem restoration.

This will be the second Seattle District fish passage facility to be constructed in recent years in the area. The new Mud Mountain Dam upstream fish passage facility, near Buckley, Washington, on the White River experienced a record-breaking year in 2023.

“In collaboration with our tribal partners, the Corps of Engineers successfully passed 1.4 million fish in 2023 at the new facility,” said Seattle District Commander Col. Kathryn Sanborn.  “We look forward to building on this success in partnership with the tribes, other federal and state agencies, and our non-federal sponsor Tacoma Public Utilities to ensure completion of this downstream fish passage facility, helping support salmon and Orca recovery.”

The Corps of Engineers partnerships are supplementing their engineering expertise with that of their partners to innovate design solutions for this one-of-a-kind project, such as the steep slope bypass design. “We are also looking to incorporate industry feedback in the design process to that we can successfully deliver this important facility by 2030,” said Sanborn.

The 2019 Jeopardy Biological Opinion from National Marine Fisheries Service requires construction of the new downstream fish passage facility by 2030.  Since the BiOp was issued, USACE has completed a study to support project re-authorization in Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 22 and is currently in the design phase.  The project also received partial funding with $220 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Tacoma Public Utilities has already completed an upstream fish passage facility that is ready for operation. Once USACE’s downstream facility is operational, the two facilities will open the watershed above the dam for migrating salmon.

Howard A. Hanson Dam is an earthen dam on the Green River, 35 miles southeast of Seattle.

The budget also earmarks $33 million funding toward the design and construction of a fish passage facility for Bull Trout at another Seattle District project, Albeni Falls Dam, Oldtown, Idaho.


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