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Cooling Systems At American River Hatchery Providing Adequate Temperatures For Fish Kill Survivors

California Department of Fish and Wildlife / Courtesy

California Department of Fish and Wildlife / Courtesy

After the death of 155,000 fingerlings of the Eagle Lake Trout species this week, three of the four cooling units required to keep baby trout alive at the American River Fish Hatchery are working again.

The units shut down when sediment from a Bureau of Reclamation pipe at Lake Natoma clogged the hatchery's filtration system Tuesday.

Andrew Hughan with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the system is working well enough to keep the surviving 40,000 alive.  

"Both of the chilling plants are back up on line and one of the water circulation plants is back up on line. The water is running  consistently at 65 degrees from a high of 71, which is pretty dramatic for fish. We are hoping to have the second heat exchange plant back up and we're trying to get the water down to 55."

Hughan says the department will re-stock lakes and rivers in California with this species of trout, but in smaller numbers than previously planned.

Shane Hunt with the Bureau of Reclamation says crews were dredging at Lake Natoma Tuesday near a 60-inch pipe that drains into the American River. Crews fully opened a 42-inch secondary pipe to avoid material from going downstream and into the hatchery. Hunt says policy dictates that pipe should have already been open "a crack."

Hunt says it's difficult to tell what clogged the hatchery filtration system because Fish and Wildlife employees cleaned it up before anyone from the bureau could see it.

The bureau will try to identify what went wrong and will re-examine its standard-operating procedure for letting water out of a lake through different pipes.


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