Foster Dam helps young steelhead
Why is water spilling from one bay of Foster Dam on the South Santiam River near Sweet Home, Ore.? It is giving young winter steelhead some help to get over the dam and out to sea. We conduct this special operation during daylight hours each spring from mid-April to mid-May. We place three metal wall segments called stop logs into spillway bay four and top them with a notched wall segment called a weir. We hold the reservoir water level between 613 and 616 feet above sea level, allowing the surface water where juvenile steelhead usually swim to spill through the notch of the weir at about 300 cubic feet per second. The spilled water combines with that from the powerhouse to assist passage of the juvenile fish out of the South Santiam Basin and towards the Columbia River estuary and Pacific Ocean. This spill operation is just one way we are trying to restore Upper Willamette River fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Visit our Environment page for more information.