State wildlife and tribal officials will employ the WHOOSHH fish passage technology at the Chief Joseph Dam to help with this year's summer and fall Chinook salmon runs.

Director of Business Affairs Michael Messina said the WHOOSHH Passage Portal corrals fish and then scans each one 18 times in rapid succession.

"That triggers a sorting decision." explained Messina, "'Is this a larger chinook? Therefore it should be sorted and routed into this tube. Or is it a smaller sockeye? Or is it an invasive species? Is this something that should not pass forward?' We can also route that out."

Videos of the WHOOSHH system went viral this last year, many times titled 'The Salmon Cannon'. Messina was quick to add that those videos were showcasing 5 year old technology. The system no longer requires humans to hand-load fish into the tubes.

Once sorted, the system will send fish up and over the dam using a misted, frictionless tube and deposit them safely to the waters on the other side. Despite the seemingly rough landing, the system claims to have a higher success rate than traditional ladders in terms of fish making it to the other side of a dam.

"We can get them going as fast as 22 feet per second." Messina said, "It depends how far and high you're going. It becomes a 10 -30 second ride to continue the migratory journey vs a day or so of working up a ladder. It's definitely preferable."

WHOOSHH Innovations is undergoing testing and setup of their system at Chief Joseph Dam this week. The demonstration is set for 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 10th at the north side of the dam.

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