Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Service and Partners Work to Move Salmon, Save them from Warming Temperatures

July 21, 2015

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Division of Public Affairs
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Telephone: 703-358-2220
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Hatchery staff at Warm Springs NFH work quickly to move salmon to Little White Salmon NFH during sustained warm weather.

In an unprecedented management step, The USFWS and our state partners worked quickly over a period of two weeks in mid-July to move more than 160,000 spring Chinook salmon from Warm Springs NFH in Central Oregon to Little White Salmon NFH in the Columbia River Gorge to ensure maximum survival during sustained severe heat. Credit: USFWS
Higher Quality Version of Image

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE, Oregon.  – 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 (NFH) 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.

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,” said Rich Johnson, fisheries supervisor for the Service. 

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, intense 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

Images and video of fish transfer

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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