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WDFW replacing Coho Salmon Fry At Grays River Hatchery

VANCOUVER, Wash. - State managers of the Grays River Hatchery are well on their way to replacing 600,000 coho salmon fry lost after a water supply line failed during a heavy rainstorm last week.

On Monday (Jan. 12), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) received 90,000 excess coho eggs from the Cascade Hatchery, operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife near Bonneville Dam.

Yesterday, the WDFW hatchery took delivery of 351,000 eyed coho eggs from the Eagle Creek Hatchery, owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Estacada, Ore.

Jim Scott, assistant director for the WDFW fish program, said he is optimistic that USFWS can supply enough additional coho eggs or fry to replace all the fry lost after the water-line failure at the Grays River Hatchery.

"We really appreciate the support we've received from our fellow fish managers," Scott said. "These salmon support sport, commercial and tribal fisheries in the Deep River, the Columbia River and ocean waters."

All state and federal permits required to transfer fish eggs to the Grays River facility have been approved, Scott said.

Cindy LeFleur, regional WDFW fish manager, said the fry lost last week suffocated Jan. 9 due to lack of water. The supply line that runs water to the hatchery from a nearby creek was damaged in the storm, and the alarm system designed to alert staff to the problem failed, she said.

Scott noted that the Grays River Hatchery, built in 1960, often has problems during high-water events.

"Unfortunately, neither maintenance nor capital funding has kept pace with the need for renovation, repair and replacement of many of our state's aging hatcheries," he said

LeFleur said the coho salmon eggs now being moved to the hatchery will eventually be transferred to net pens in Deep River and released as smolts in 2016.

In addition to coho, the facility rears chinook salmon, chum salmon and winter steelhead. None of those fish were affected by the faulty water line, LeFleur said.


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