Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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About 60,000 Chinook salmon fry have died as a result of a water supply problem at the McCall Fish Hatchery.
The problem was reported at 8 a.m. January 24, 2013. The supply valves delivering water to two of eleven incubator stacks containing Chinook salmon fry were blocked by organic debris that reduced inflow to a trickle. Two release groups of Chinook salmon were affected.
The South Fork Summer Chinook salmon group was reduced by about 35,300 fry, representing 3.3 percent of the pre-incident inventory. The estimated remaining inventory of 1,066,700 fry should be sufficient to make the target release of 1,000,000 smolts. This release supports the salmon fisheries in the South Fork Salmon River.
The Johnson Creek Summer Chinook salmon group was reduced by about 25,400 fry.
The estimated remaining inventory is 92,600 fry, representing 92 percent of the smolt release goal for this group. These fish are released un-clipped and are produced to supplement natural fish production in Johnson Creek, a tributary to the South Fork Salmon River.
The incident is the first of its kind in more than 30 years of continuous operation at the McCall hatchery. The affected water supply system was shut down and inspected. The system was flushed, re-inspected, and put back into operation. Preventive measures have been implemented and additional risk reduction alternatives are being explored by staff members.