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Warm Water Temps Prompt USFWS To Move Warm Springs Hatchery Salmon To Hatchery With Cooler Water
Posted on Friday, July 24, 2015 (PST)

In an unprecedented management step, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed the transfer of 160,680 salmon from Warm Spring National Fish Hatchery in Central Oregon to Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery in the Columbia River Gorge at the end of last week.

 

The move of these spring chinook “reflects the ongoing and adaptive approach the Service is taking to balance fish propagation, fish health, and tribal trust responsibilities in the face of sustained warm weather,” said the USFWS in a press release.

 

Over a period of two weeks, 160,000 juveniles and 680 adult fish were transported by truck from Warm Springs NFH, where daytime river temperatures are exceeding 70 degrees, to Little White Salmon NFH in the Columbia River Gorge where water temperatures are in the low 50’s, a much safer temperature for salmon.

 

“As temperatures in water outside the hatchery rise, it makes it difficult to keep things cool inside the hatchery,” said Rich Johnson, fisheries supervisor for the service.  “We needed to work quickly to ensure maximum survival for these fish.”

 

Staff at both hatcheries, aided significantly by Spring Creek NFH personnel on site to load fish, and partners from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, put in long hours to ensure that fish remained healthy before, during, and after the one hundred mile trip from Warm Springs to Little White Salmon.

 

“Transferring fish on this scale is exhausting and inspiring at the same time,” said Mark Ahrens, manager of Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery in the Gorge. “Thanks to dedicated crews at our hatcheries and a lot of help from our state partners, we were able to mobilize rapidly – in less than 24 hours - and do what we needed to do to save these valuable salmon.”

 

All of the transferred fish are being monitored and are doing well at their new home in the Gorge. The juvenile fish will be held at Little White Salmon NFH until temperatures moderate in October and the adults will be held until spawning in August.

 

See video footage and images of the fish transfer:  http://bit.ly/fishtransferalbum

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The Columbia Basin Bulletin, Bend, Oregon. For information or comments call 541-312-8860.
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