Pump Failure Kills Up To 300,000 Salmon at Thermalito Hatchery

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OROVILLE — Up to 300,000 fall-run Chinook salmon were killed early Wednesday morning, the Department of Fish and Wildlife says, because of a faulty pump at the Feather River Fish Hatchery’s Thermalito facility.

Wildlife officials say the broken pump “drastically” reduced the amount of water in the hatchery raceways. When hatchery staff noticed what was happening, they gave the fish “supplemental oxygen” and crews made repairs to the pump.

By then, between an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 fish had died.

The fall-run salmon were moved to the Thermalito facility after the crisis at the Oroville Dam spillway caused the main hatchery to be closed.

More than 2 million Chinook salmon will remain at the hatchery until they are big enough to be released into the Feather River.