The Chief Joseph Fish Hatchery is a state-of-the-art facility built to increase spring, summer and fall Chinook salmon in the Columbia and Okanogan rivers. The goal of the hatchery is to reintroduce the 2.9 million salmon back to their native spawning grounds in Washington State. The facility includes a fish ladder and hatchery, a pipeline from a well field to the hatchery, two water source tie-ins to the dam, a housing complex for hatchery workers, and two fish acclimation ponds.   

The durability of concrete was essential for a successful project as 60% of the water supplied to the hatchery is from a gravity feed pipeline in which the steel intake bulkhead was on the upstream face of the Chief Joseph Dam. While the project was already underway, divers discovered the underwater conditions of the adjacent rip rap embankment were unstable and could potentially damage the steel gate, breaking the necessary water-tight seal. The project team worked diligently to understand the challenge at hand and quickly created a solution where the concrete intake wall could be constructed underwater in lieu of the original steel intake. Using concrete eliminated fears of damaging the intake area and eliminated the need for divers to inspect the system on a regular basis due to the requirements set forth by the Army Corps of Engineers surrounding underwater steel structures.  

Delivering a solutions-driven approach for the client solved immediate construction needs and reduced substantial long-term maintenance costs, all while releasing nearly three million salmon into the wild each year.  

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