Tag Archives: oroville

Pump Failure Kills Fall-Run Chinook Salmon at Feather River Fish Hatchery – Thermalito Facility

An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 fall-run Chinook salmon were killed early yesterday morning at the Feather River Fish Hatchery – Thermalito Facility due to a pump failure from a faulty wire. More than two million remaining salmon at the facility will be released over the next month as they reach an appropriate size.

Overnight on May 10, 2017, the primary pump supplying well water to the facility failed, drastically reducing the water supply to the hatchery raceways.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff first observed stressed fall-run Chinook salmon at 6:30 a.m. along with mortalities in the raceways due to low dissolved oxygen levels. Hatchery staff immediately started supplying supplemental oxygen to the raceways to keep fish alive. CDFW notified the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), which manages the wells, and DWR electricians made immediate repairs to restart the pump motor and resume the flow of water.

Early loss estimates suggest 200,000-300,000 fall-run perished in this event. A rapid response likely saved thousands if not millions more fall-run Chinook at the facility.

The fall-run were reared at the Thermalito Facility after they were evacuated from the main hatchery in February following erosion of the Oroville Dam gated flood control spillway.

More than two million fall-run Chinook at the Thermalito Facility will remain there until they reach an appropriate size for release to the Feather River. Releases begin this week and will continue over the next month. CDFW and DWR staff are developing additional redundancy measures to prevent future pump failures.

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CDFW Releases First Million of Evacuated Fish into Feather River

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released one million state and federally listed threatened spring-run Chinook salmon into the Feather River on Monday, March 20.

These were the first fish to be released that were evacuated from the Feather River Hatchery in Oroville on Feb. 9, when the water became dangerously murky following the failure of the Oroville Dam spillway. The fish were moved to the Feather River/Thermalito Annex Hatchery and held there until conditions improved.

“Based on the weather forecast and current reservoir storage, we are anticipating high flows in the Feather River for some time,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Colin Purdy. “Releasing these fish now should allow them to imprint on Feather River water and move downstream before flows drop back down to normal levels.”Annex release 2

Central Valley spring-run Chinook are a state and federally listed species and their abundance has declined considerably during the recent drought. The Feather River Fish Hatchery plays a key role in the state’s efforts to propagate this unique run of Chinook salmon.

“Today’s fish release marks the success of federal and state agencies coordinating and managing valuable resources while ensuring public safety during a crisis situation,” said Howard Brown, NOAA Sacramento River Basin Branch Chief. “NOAA Fisheries remains deeply concerned with the damage of the Oroville spillways and is committed to reducing further threats to California communities and ecosystems.”

“This is another example of the extraordinary multi-agency effort to respond to this unfortunate incident,” said California Department of Water Resources Acting Director Bill Croyle. “We will continue to work closely to protect the Feather River and its fisheries.”

Of the fish that were evacuated, another million spring-run Chinook and three million fall-run Chinook remain at the Annex Hatchery. CDFW and NOAA fisheries staff will continuously evaluate the remaining salmon and begin planting them in northern California Rivers when the fish are mature enough.

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Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958
Jim Milbury, NOAA Fisheries, (562) 980-4006

 

Feather River Hatchery Fish Ladder to Open Sept. 14

The fish ladder at Feather River Hatchery in Oroville will open Monday, Sept. 14, signaling the start of the spawning season on the Feather River. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hatchery workers will open the gates in the ladder about 8 a.m. and will take more than 3 million spring-run eggs and 12 million fall-run eggs over the next two months in order to produce Chinook salmon for release next spring.

Visitors can observe the salmon through the viewing windows and from the observation deck located at the base of the fish barrier dam. At the main side of the hatchery, visitors can observe CDFW technicians performing the spawning process. Thousands of school children tour the Feather River Hatchery each year. For more information about spawning schedules and educational opportunities at the Feather River Hatchery, please call (530) 538-2222.  For information about hatchery tours, please call (530) 534-2306.

There are eight state-run salmon and steelhead hatcheries, all of which will participate in the salmon spawning effort. Those hatcheries, along with federally run hatcheries, will be responsible for the release of 40 million juvenile salmon into California waters. These massive spawning efforts were put in place over the last 50 years to offset fish losses caused by dams that block salmon from historic spawning habitat.

Once the young salmon reach 2 to 4 inches in length, 100 percent of the spring-run stock and 25 percent of the fall-run stock will be adipose fin clipped and implanted with coded wire tags prior to release. CDFW biologists use the information from the tags to chart the survival, catch and return rates of the fish.

For more information about California’s fish hatcheries, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries.

Media Contacts:
Penny Crawshaw, Feather River Hatchery, (530) 538-2222
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958