This organization is dedicated to returning fish passage over Grand Coulee Dam, and the huge Chinook salmon known as "June Hogs" that used to spawn above the dam.
With the completion of Grand Coulee Dam, thousands of miles of spawning and rearing streams of the upper Columbia watershed were blocked off from anadromous fish. The giants of these fish were a race of Chinook Salmon called the "June Hogs", because of their enormous size ( in excess of 100 lbs. ), and the timing of their run. It's painful to think of this magnificent race of fish dying out as they tried in vain to get past the new dam till the last year class returned. Plans for fish passage were included in the original plans for the dam but, when the plans for the height of the dam were raised it was decided hatchery production would be the best replacement. There was a valiant effort to truck the fish past the dam, but that did not work out. There was only a 6 month study allocated to study the fish passage problem before the dam was completed, where it was concluded passage wasn't feasible at the time. With new construction techniques however, it would be more feasible now. There is a 1.9 mile long fish ladder on the Clackamas River in Oregon.
The very long reservoir behind the dam would be problematic for migration of the fish. With what we know now about currents and drawdowns behind the other Columbia River dams, we would have a much better chance for success if we put in fish passage facilities, like a fish ladder, at Grand Coulee Dam. There would have to be cooperation in Canada to open areas further up stream, and passage added downstream at Chief Joseph Dam also. It would be a major project, but when compared with actually building a dam, it wouldn't be so big. Any chance we would have to bring them back would be worth the risk. As a simplistic example, perhaps eggs from a larger race of Chinook Salmon could be crossed with fish from an existing Upriver Columbia River run to seed the area. Or, nature could be allowed to take it's course and repopulate the area. The thousands of miles of spawning area that would be re-opened would be a great opportunity to restore millions of wild fish to the system, boosting fishing and the economy. It would be a chance to put back a large part of something we took away back when we didn't know as much. Chinook were successfully reintroduced to the Umatilla River in Oregon. This could be an even grander addition to that success, and could be a major piece of the puzzle to help restore the great numbers of salmon that were historically in the Columbia system.
HOGC is dedicated to raising the funds, through private donations, to make this dream a reality.