Rain brings fish ladder construction trouble

September 6, 2013

By Peter Clark

NEW — 2:50 p.m. Sept. 6, 2013

Thunderstorms lifted the Issaquah Creek over its construction boundaries Sept. 5.

Work crews on the weir construction to allow for easier fish passage and an updated intake for the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery were scrambled late in the night as storm water rose over the temporary dam placed in the creek. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Project Manager Tim Ward said workers had to quickly remove harmful materials before they were swept downstream.

“We did have a high water event,” Ward said. “The upper intake was flooded and every pollutant was pulled out. It was way too much.”

He said the contractor was prepared for high water and did not know whether any damage occurred.

“The weirs are all intact,” he said, though remained unaware of any construction hidden by the flooding water. “They’re not going to be doing anything until the water goes down except evaluate and then see if there’s any more work that needs to be done.”

With the project already running past its scheduled completion date, Ward said the storm would probably push them even further behind.

“We’re probably going to be a month behind schedule at this point,” he said. “We’ll have to wait until the water goes down to be sure.”

Issaquah Hatchery Manager Darin Combs said the rain, which usually signals a larger number of returning salmon, did not bring very many.

“It doesn’t look like it,” Combs said when asked if many came with the rain. He said the water was muddy and opaque, leaving it hard even for hatchery employees to tell. “Until it comes down and clears up, it’s kind of hard to say.”

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