Cigarette-smoking dogs? Yesterday’s news…

Even monkeys with cosmetics in their eyes might shed a (voluntary) tear for the crash-dummy trout of Detroit Dam.

For two weeks in July, almost 2,000 rainbow trout were tagged with a radio sensor and two deflated balloons.One at a time, the fish were sent down a tube directing them through the spillway, a gate at the top of the dam that spills water from the reservoir. After their [six-second, 463-foot] plunge, the yellow and orange balloons inflate to help researchers recover the fish at the bottom of the dam

There is a purpose to this and no, it’s not a bungee-jump risk-assessment. The authorities are trying to find out how to get a sustainable number of wild spring chinook and winter steelhead in the North Santiam River.

Not only do the dams hinder the fishes’ access to their upstream habitat but they mess up the downstream habitat, too.

“Preliminary data suggest a 70 percent survival rate for fish going over the spillway, said Greg Taylor, the supervisory fish biologist with the Willamette Valley Project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.’It’s better than I expected, but in terms of fish passage, it’s not good,’ Taylor said. ‘We may find that it is better than having them go through the (dam) turbines.'”

Scientists will apparently study the fate of fish going through the turbines next month.

Can’t wait to see that one on YouTube.

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