TransAlta Coal Transition Board Supports The Onalaska High School Aquaculture Program


Centralia, Wash. (August 15, 2018) – The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board (“ECD Board”) is pleased to announce it has approved a grant in the amount of $23,500 to the Onalaska School District to support their unique Aquaculture Program. The students of this program raise, rear and release approximately 35,000 Steelhead, 100,000 Coho Salmon, and 9,000 Rainbow Trout into the Newaukum River Basin and the Carlisle Lake. Their work along with the partnerships they have established with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force, and the Chehalis Tribe provides not only an educational experience, but a community opportunity for youth fishing events.

“This is a project that gives students an opportunity to witness first hand their work and allows them to enhance relationships with their partners” said Lori Schmitt, ECD Board Member. “Students will learn from this program, develop relationships with the agencies they work with and create an opportunity to support their local community. These are all areas the board considers when reviewing applications which have an educational opportunity. We are looking forward to hearing more about the operations of this program and seeing the results.”

Under the agreement between TransAlta and the State of Washington to transition the Centralia facility off coal, TransAlta is investing $55 million into the local community and the state of Washington. To date, TransAlta has awarded approximately $13.9 million through its coal transition grant boards.

The funding from the ECD Board will support the completion of a second hatchery building which will be used as a Rainbow Trout rearing facility capable of producing 200 three-pound Rainbow trout each year which will be planted in Carlisle Lake for recreational fishing. All students of Onalaska High School have an opportunity to participate in this project of raising the trout from eggs to adults and in performing all hatchery operations needed to achieve a successful project.

“As a teacher, having spent eight years in the Aquaculture field working for private, state and tribal hatcheries, my goal is to teach each student the basics of Aquaculture, and more importantly the critical thinking and teamwork needed to maintain the program” said Kevin Hoffman, Aquaculture Teacher for the Onalaska School District. “The students are excited and appreciative of this funding by the ECD Board.”

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:
Annual payments for the funding boards began in 2012 with the last payment due December 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit: