THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
Idaho Department of Fish and Game fisheries biologists today decided to move 4,000 endangered sockeye salmon from the agency’s Eagle Fish Hatchery, in order to protect the fish from possible flooding. The sockeye will be moved in trucks to Fish and Game’s Springfield Hatchery in Eastern Idaho.
The Eagle facility is located near Eagle Island State Park along the south channel of the Boise River, which is running at flood stage.
Fish and Game crews have placed sandbags around buildings and electrical pumps that supply water to the hatchery. However, if is power lost for an extended period of time, the hatchery’s sockeye could be in jeopardy.
Crews will begin loading and transporting the fish on Thursday, March 30.
Sockeye held at the Eagle Hatchery act as captive brood stock for sockeye that are spawned to produce young for release into Red Fish Lake and Pettit Lakes where they eventually migrate to the ocean. Other offspring are kept in captivity at facilities like Eagle Hatchery to provide a genetic bank that acts as safeguard against natural catastrophes, such as lethal river conditions.
The Springfield Hatchery was completed in 2013 and is solely dedicated to rearing sockeye. It is expected to produce a million sockeye smolts for release in 2018.
In 2016, 567 sockeye returned to the Sawtooth Valley, slightly below the 10-year average of 664 fish, but a huge improvement over previous decades.
In 1992, a single sockeye dubbed “Lonesome Larry” was the only fish to return to Red Fish Lake. He was one of 16 adult sockeye along with juveniles used to help jump start the recovery of Idaho’s sockeye salmon.