Water & Drought

State lowers fish-kill estimates from Oroville hatchery

State officials substantially overestimated the numbers of fish that were killed Wednesday at a temporary fish hatchery used since the Oroville Dam crisis in February.
State officials substantially overestimated the numbers of fish that were killed Wednesday at a temporary fish hatchery used since the Oroville Dam crisis in February. Sacramento Bee file

State officials substantially overestimated the numbers of fish that were killed Wednesday at a temporary fish hatchery used since the Oroville Dam crisis in February.

Revised estimates now show that 72,000 fall-run Chinook died Wednesday when a faulty wire shut off a pump at a holding pond, said Harry Morse, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

On Thursday, the state estimated as many as 300,000 fish had died.

Morse said the better tally came Friday after biologists finished moving about 1 million salmon from the damaged holding pond into tanker trucks.

The total number of dead fish weighed about 1,000 pounds, but there were around 10,000 pounds of fish alive in the same pond, Morse said.

The surviving 3- to 5-inch salmon were released into San Pablo Bay Thursday and Friday.

Since February, more than 3.6 million fall-run salmon were reared at the DWF’s small Thermalito Facility. It’s a few miles from the main Feather River Hatchery in Oroville, where fish had to be evacuated in early February following the crisis at Oroville Dam’s spillway.

  Comments