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Friday, September 22, 2023
Sept. 22, 2023

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Salmon hatcheries damaged by heavy rains

The Columbian

SEATTLE — Recent rain has damaged some salmon hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest, state wildlife experts said.

Flooding inundated some of the facilities, young salmon were swept away and sediment spilled into egg strays killing some of the unborn fish, KOMO-TV reported Wednesday. The effects of the damage could be experienced for years to come, experts said.

The Nisqually Indian Reservation community has endured severe floods affecting more than 600,000 coho salmon, but it is unclear how many were swept away, hatchery workers reservation said. About 30 miles northeast, 30 percent of salmon at Puyallup Fish Hatchery were released early due wet weather, and some of their facilities were damaged as well, workers said.

It is likely that wild salmon were affected by the rain too, experts said.

“It’s going to be very tough on those fish, when you have a flood condition like this,” said Darin Combs, a supervisor for the Issaquah Hatchery. “I’d be surprised if there’s a whole lot of survival in this year’s group of fish that are out.”

Salmon at the Issaquah Hatchery have survived, but it has been hard to feed them in waters that are not clear enough for fish to see their food, Combs said.