We have been reporting on this issue since before it was found. When I interviewed old timers in 2010 who had fished the Canal all their lives some told me they believed the bridge was the cause of the salmon’s demise in the Canal. That they had seen a dramatic reduction in fish since the bridge was installed. Now, we are getting real data that validates the “local knowledge” that some scoffed at. While no one is saying that the bridge should be removed, at least at this point, there is new work being done to see if there are some quick fixes that can be done to help the salmon, and the water, flow better.
A cloud of little fish loiters alongside the Hood Canal bridge’s floating lower deck. They don’t go around and they don’t go under. Instead they seem to aimlessly swirl about. Lurking nearby is a plump seal, apparently well-fed on the logjam of fish.
There’s mounting evidence that the bridge is a major fish barrier, blocking a third of migrating steelhead trout from reaching the ocean. The bridge also might hamper water circulation, lowering dissolved oxygen levels and altering the canal’s temperature and chemistry.