Federal fisheries biologists told the Army Corps of Engineers it must improve dam operations on the White River to protect endangered salmon, a report released Tuesday shows.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries found that too many migrating fish, including endangered chinook salmon, can’t make it safely down the White River or to spawning habitat upriver above Mud Mountain Dam near Enumclaw.

The agency is requiring the corps by 2020 to build new fish-passage facilities near Buckley, Pierce County, to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act. It said the current structures are outdated, unsafe and routinely injure and kill endangered salmon, steelhead and other fish.

Brig. Gen. John Kem, the corps’ northwestern division commander, replied that the corps is committed to improving fish passage and meeting the requirements set out by NOAA. He said the corps will seek money for the project with the goal of having it operational by 2020.

The corps committed itself to building the new facilities in 2007 but that hasn’t happened.

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