Water Withdrawal Project Wins ACEC Award

The Pelton Round Butte Selective Water Withdrawal Project has won the American Council of Engineering Companies' (ACEC) national Grand Award.

May 1st, 2011

The Pelton Round Butte Selective Water Withdrawal Project has won the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) national Grand Award. The Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project is co-owned by Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.

The award was accepted by PGE and CH2M Hill, who provided design and construction oversight for the project, at ACEC’s 2011 Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on April 1.

Located near Madras, OR, on Lake Billy Chinook, the original Round Butte dam, built in the early 1960s, affected water flow and temperature so greatly that native salmon and other fish could not find their way out of the reservoir, and natural migration ceased. In 2004, in an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon, PGE hired CH2M Hill to complete a fish collection and bypass system at the three-dam, 465 MW Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project in order to restore the anadromous fish runs to their natural habitat.

CH2M Hill designed and helped construct the Pelton Round Butte Selective Water Withdrawal Project, which, completed in 2009, is the only known floating surface fish collection facility coupled with power generation in the world. As a result of the selective water withdrawal project, the Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric project has been certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute as a source of green power.

The project was designed to modify the surface current directions to improve guidance of the migrating fish into the fish collection structure, provide a fish sorting and handling system, exclude all fish from passing through the turbines, and ensure the water passing through the turbines complies with the state and tribal water quality standards in order to restore water quality to improve the fish habitat.

For the first time in 40 years, Chinook, sockeye, and steelhead salmon are able to complete their life cycles as the juvenile fish are passed downstream to the Deschutes River basin and then are able to return as adults to spawn naturally upstream of Round Butte Dam. More than 100,000 fish were captured and transferred downstream in 2010, its first full year of operation.


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