Water Pump Fails, Hundreds Of Thousands Of Salmon Die At Butte County Hatchery

THERMALITO (CBS13) – Hundreds of thousands of Chinook salmon were killed after a pump failed at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Thermalito.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the primary pump that supplies water into the facility failed on Wednesday, cutting off the water supply to the hatchery. It appears a faulty wire is to blame, officials say.

Staff didn’t learn about the problem until Thursday morning.

ALSO READ: California Lake Mysteriously Runs Dry Overnight, Killing Thousands Of Fish

In total, about 200,000 to 300,000 fall-run salmon were killed, CDFW says. Hundreds of thousands to millions more fish were saved after crews quickly started supplying oxygen to the hatchery’s raceways.

Electricians have repaired the pump motor, which started the flow of water back up. Crews are also working on redundancy measures to make sure another failure isn’t catastrophic.

Fall-run salmon are at the Thermalito facility due to the Oroville Dam spillway crisis, which caused erosion to affect the main hatchery.

Salmon are scheduled to be released into the Feather River within the next few days.

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