Tacoma Power’s salmon hatchery visitor center wins national award

Tacoma Power announced Tuesday its new Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery visitor center was awarded an Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) Award for Public Education in Washington, D.C. The award was given April 17 by the National Hydropower Association.

“Tacoma Power’s selection is testimony to the exceptional efforts of the organization to operate a hydroelectric project and at the same time provide public services of superior value,” said OSAW Awards Selection Committee member Mark Garner.

The visitor center aims to teach people about the life cycle of Pacific salmon. Visitors can follow salmon eggs, represented by marbles, through an interactive survival maze; lift life-size replicas of fish; and explore the connection between salmon and 5 “Hs” — hatcheries, habitat, high seas, harvest and hydropower.

“Guests visiting the visitor center will not only learn how Tacoma Power provides hatchery fish for harvest, but how the utility helps protect naturally spawning fish and generates clean, renewable energy,” said Tacoma Power Generation Manager Pat McCarty.

Tacoma Power rebuilt the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery as part of the Cowlitz Hydroelectric Project. The visitor center is in Lewis County off Highway 12. It’s currently open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. Summer will bring expanded times and days. Visit http://www.tacomapower.com/salmonvisitorcenter for current information and directions.