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December 2017
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American Crane and Equipment helps lift salmon across the Cushman Dams

When Tacoma Power re-licensed Cushman Dams 1 and 2, the Washington Department of Natural Resources mandated the restoration of the spawning migration for salmon living in the lake. Once the fingerling size salmon are old enough, they instinctively swim downstream to the ocean where they live for three years. After that period, the mature salmon swim back up the same stream to Lake Cushman to spawn in the water where they were born. But since both dams block the salmon’s path up and downstream, they need some help getting around these barriers.

Tacoma Power has installed fish collectors at the top of Cushman Dam 1 (located directly on Lake Cushman) and at the base of Cushman Dam 2 (located on the North Fork Skokomish River). The fish collectors are floating platforms that funnel the fish into holding tanks for transport. The collectors capture the young fingerlings and adult salmon for later release into the North Fork Skokomish River and Lake Cushman respectively.

American Crane’s Jib Cranes were requisitioned to help the salmon to the first part of their journey. The cranes aid in transporting the salmon from Lake Cushman into the North Fork Skokomish River, past both dams, where they head out to sea. Jib Crane 1 has a 36 foot hook reach, which lifts each 6’ x 3’ x 4’ 9000 pound tank out of the Lake Cushman collector facility, and places the tank atop Dam 1 onto a battery powered cart. Next the cart moves the tank off of Dam 1 and moves it adjacent to Jib Crane 2, equipped with a 13 foot hook reach. Jib Crane 2 lifts the tank onto a truck, which then transports and releases the salmon into the North Fork of the Skokomish River below Cushman Dam 2.