Public Advisory: Hydro to transport salmon around breached dam on Exploits River to ensure safe passage

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) is preparing to begin transporting salmon upstream to enable the fish to safely bypass a breached dam on the Exploits River in central Newfoundland.

Adult salmon normally migrate past Goodyear’s Dam through two fishways. However, damage on the dam caused by heavy ice and spring run-off this year has made the fishways inoperable.

Hydro takes its stewardship responsibility for the fish and their habitat on the river seriously. The company is an active partner in the ongoing development of the salmon run on the Exploits River.

After completing field studies and close consultation with Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO), it has been determined that transporting the fish will help ensure the safe passage of migrating fish.

The Environment Resources Management Association (ERMA), who operate the Salmonid Interpretation Centre and fishway in Grand Falls, have been contracted to transport the fish around the dam during the 2015 salmon season. ERMA has considerable experience and expertise in this process.

The fish will be removed from the Grand Falls fishway area and trucked a short distance (6 km) to bypass Goodyear’s Dam under continuous monitoring.  Hydro will be taking every precaution to assist the fish in a safe journey. The main run of salmon on the Exploits takes place until the end of July, with smaller numbers of fish continuing upstream migration until September. Adult salmon are expected to start arriving in the area in the coming days.

In preparation, DFO has advised anglers that 250 metres above and below Boom Landing on the Exploits River is closed. This measure is to protect salmon released in this area and enable their successful transition back into the river.

Repair work on the dam is anticipated to start in August. Hydro will update with further details when appropriate regulatory permits have been obtained, the tender process is completed, and a work schedule in place.

In order for crews to complete the repair work safely and effectively, water levels will be variable and lower than average during the construction phase. Flows will be in accordance with flow requirements set by DFO and adjusted in a gradual fashion.

Goodyear’s Dam is an an ice control structure that protects the generation units at the Grand Falls hydroelectric dam, roughly two kilometres downstream. Repairs are necessary to ensure generation capability this winter.