Large numbers of salmon return to Deschutes River

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BEND, Ore. (AP) – Oregon’s Deschutes River saw a large number of native sockeye salmon return to its waters in 2016.

The Bulletin reports that a total of 536 sockeye salmon returned to a complex of hydroelectric dams and reservoirs called the Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project. That’s a significant improvement over recent years – since 2010, annual returns have ranged between 19 and 86 fish.

The dam complex stretches over about 20 miles of the Deschutes River.

According to genetic testing received by Portland General Electric in January, more than 93 percent of the sockeye originated in the Middle Deschutes basin.

The dam complex is co-owned by PGE and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. A PGE spokesman says this year’s numbers are good but that reintroduction efforts are still in the early stages.

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