Tumwater Falls Hatchery Modernization

Tumwater, Washington

Award of Merit

CONTRACTOR: Stellar J Corp.

OWNER: Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife


Built to help fish traverse the Deschutes River, Tumwater Falls Hatchery welcomes 250,000 annual park visitors and 3.8 million Chinook salmon each year. The $9-million modernization project built larger holding and rearing ponds, increased production and extended its fish ladder. Adult salmon are collected at the site and held until spawning when eggs are collected and shipped to other hatcheries. 

The upgrades reflect the region’s history with cedar paneling, elk fencing and buildings resembling old sawmills. The team built a new mechanical building to house pumps, backwash equipment and alarms, a new surface water intake and pollution abatement facilities.

The team expedited shop drawings, reorganized construction activities and moved the surface water intake to finish in time for the fall salmon run. While constructing the surface water intake, crews built a temporary dewatering structure with 4-sq-ft rock bags and tarps to develop a semi-watertight barrier from the river. The team controlled seepage with pumps and a float system that cycled on and off. The pumped water was sent to sludge collection tanks.