WHITE RIVER — The Army Corps of Engineers will complete a fish trapping facility 50 miles south of Seattle in October that will be the largest in North America.
The White River Fish Passage Facility will be able to handle an estimated one million salmon per year.
The $131 million facility was built on the insistence of tribes and federal fisheries managers and will replace an old facility in the area that was only capable of trapping 20,000 fish per year, The Seattle Times reported.
The augers at the facility will lift fish into flumes that carry them to trucks for a 12-mile drive up the river, where they will be released back to the river to spawn. It will be located near the Mud Mountain Dam along the White River in Pierce County.
The 400-foot dam was built in 1948 to prevent flooding to the roughly 400,000 houses and businesses along the White and Puyallup river valleys in western Washington. Adult fish are unable to penetrate the dam, which requires officials to physically move them in order to maintain the ecology.
The new facility will protect species like the spring chinook, steelhead and bull trout by snatching more pink salmons, which officials say have become so numerous they are eating seabirds and displacing other fish. Pink salmon may also interfere with the feeding habits of local orca.