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Habitat and land management

We work to improve fish runs around our hydroelectric projects and protect wildlife habitats and birds.

FISH PASSAGE Protecting migration to the ocean In late 2012, we completed a downstream fish passage solution at River Mill Dam on the Clackamas River. Previously, young salmon and steelhead migrated downstream through turbines or over spillways with a decreased survival rate. Our new surface collector system creates a bypass for juvenile fish with impressive survival rates.

Restoring fish runs on the Deschutes River Although our Deschutes River hydro projects were originally constructed to allow fish passage, downstream passage failed to materialize. In 2009, PGE and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs completed a new downstream fish passage system at the Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project that has helped restore salmon and steelhead migration for the first time since 1968.

Our downstream passage facility has been successful, but the number of adults returning upstream is low. We’re conducting studies that we hope will provide the insight we need to help improve adult returns and make our downstream passage even more successful. Watch a video about broader fish habitat improvements on the Deschutes River.


This includes passage through the entire Clackamas River Hydroelectric Project (four dams and three powerhouses).

Full evaluation of survival rates won’t be calculated until several additional improvements have been implemented. However, in 2013 we evaluated fish passage rates through our new River Mill Surface Collector with the following results for three key salmon species: Chinook: 98.3 percent; Coho: 98.8 percent; Steelhead: 95.8 percent

AVIAN PROTECTION Modifying power lines Our Avian Protection Program helps protect large raptor species, such as eagles, from electrocution and collision with power lines. When our power lines cause bird mortality, we modify our structures to help mitigate future risks. We also proactively modify power poles in places with high raptor populations.

Innovating new sorting techniques

As adult salmon and steelhead migrate back up the Clackamas River, they pass through our North Fork adult sorting facility. There, we separate wild fish (which continue upstream) from hatchery fish (which go back to the hatchery or are put back into the river for angling opportunities).

Traditional sorting techniques involve direct handling and even use of anesthetics to separate the fish. Our stakeholders challenged us to find a less stressful method of sorting — and we did.

We now sort fish by directing them through observation tanks where biologists identify fish as wild or hatchery. With the push of a button, the fish is released upstream or to holding tanks for transport downstream. 2013 was our first year using this new system. We passed 5,166 wild fish upstream and returned 2,248 hatchery fish downstream.

Learn more about our hands-free fish sorting facility on the North Fork of the Clackamas River.

Studying the impact of wind farms Avian studies at our Biglow Canyon Wind Farm in Sherman County, Ore., show that our operations are not contributing significantly to mortality rates that would cause regional declines in bird species. We’re also collecting data on eagle activity near our Tucannon River Wind Farm, which should be complete in late 2014 or early 2015.

New legislation and federal eagle conservation programs are underway for wind farms. The studies we’ve conducted will aid our development of eagle conservation plans intended to reduce the risk to eagles associated with our wind facilities.

OTHER WILDLIFE We participate in a voluntary program near our power plants in Boardman to help protect wildlife habitat and species that could become threatened in the future, including the Washington ground squirrel, ferruginous hawk, loggerhead shrike and sagebrush sparrow. Near our Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project in Central Oregon, we own about 13,000 acres that PGE wildlife biologists manage to improve habitats and protect birds, deer and other wildlife.

Learn how we’re protecting habitat during construction of our Port Westward Unit 2 facility in Clatskanie, Ore., expected to be complete in early 2015.


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