A record number of Chinook salmon passed Bonneville Dam during their fall migration up the Columbia River this year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Corps' Portland District counted more than 350,000 total Chinook, with single-day numbers setting new benchmarks as well.
"Fish have been counted at Bonneville Dam since it began operating in 1938, but we have never seen numbers like the 68,000 Chinook that passed the dam September 9," Bonneville Dam senior fish biologist Ben Hausmann said. "The highest number we have in our records was just more than 47,000 on Sept. 11, 2003."
The fish count began increasing mid-August, Hausmann said, with the tallies jumping to more rising through the end of the month.
The Corps said "no one can explain why the fish migration has been so large", but that it has been "an awesome sight to see."
Bonneville Dam is home to a 1,076.6-MW hydropower plant. The Corps recently issued a pre-solicitation notice for turbine repairs in the plant's Second Powerhouse.
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