Protecting Puget Sound Chinook Salmon, Bull Trout, and Steelhead
The Puyallup River originates in glaciers along the slopes of Mount Rainier in the Cascade Mountains in Washington and flows through lands owned by the Puyallup Tribe to Commencement Bay in Puget Sound. Historically, the Puyalllup River watershed supported healthy populations of Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout. Today, all three species are threatened with extinction.
Part of the problem lies at Electron Dam on the Puyallup River. Dam operators divert water from the river into a forebay where protected fish are killed by predation and turbidity, or destroyed in powerhouse turbines and penstock. The operator of the dam does not possess a federal permit or other authorization that would allow it to kill any threatened fish.
Representing American Rivers and American Whitewater, we filed suit against the dam operator to stop its violation of the Endangered Species Act and help put Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout on the road to recovery in the Puyallup River.
Thanks in part to our legal advocacy, a judge halted operations at the Electron Dam on the Puyallup River in Washington state in June 2021 in order to protect threatened fish. The dam will only be allowed to resume power generation when operators go through the proper Endangered Species Act channels to minimize its negative impact on these threatened fish populations.