RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — More than 150,000 rainbow trout died in just a matter of minutes at a fish hatchery, and state and federal officials are blaming it on a mystery goo released from the dam.
Officials say the mystery goo went through the pipes and was released from Nimbus Dam.
“To the moment we’ve lost 155,000 rainbow trout,” said Andrew Hughan with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It’s certainly devastating to our hatchery operations.”
On Tuesday evening, Bureau of Reclamation crews were doing maintenance work on pipes at the Nimbus Dam when one of the pipes released a gooey substance into the American River that eventually flowed into the hatchery.
“Ultimately the water that came out into the hatchery here clogged up our chilling plant and UV filters and our whole filtering system which in turn heated the water, polluted the water, and killed the fish,” Hughson said.
Federal officials are still analyzing the substance and wonder if it’s drought-related.
“I don’t know if its drought-related. And the water is warmer than it normally is, allowing the algae to grow in a way that we didn’t anticipate. But it could be a number of different things,” said Shane Hunt.
Despite the large numbers of dead fish, wildlife officials don’t expect a dramatic loss of fishing.