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Elk River Hatchery fish released early due to Anvil Fire Level 3 evacuation

September 20, 2023

PORT ORFORD, Ore – Elk River Hatchery staff released four stocks of fin-clipped fish early into local rivers and temporarily moved one stock to Bandon Hatchery due to a Level 3 evacuation last week from the Anvil Fire.

If not released early, the fish could die if the facility burns, if falling ash and debris clog screens and deprive fish of oxygen, or if water is shut off for firefighting efforts as hatchery staff would not be on site to maintain water flow.

All fish released or moved were fin-clipped:

  • Approximately 265,000 Elk River fall chinook smolts were released into the river. Normally, these fish are released in late October or November when river flows increase with fall rains. A small group is released in March.
  • Approximately 23,000 winter steelhead pre-smolts were released into the Chetco River about seven months early.
  • 140,000 Chetco River fall chinook smolts were released into the river just a few weeks early. Another 60,000 smolts were released before the Level 3 evacuation notice.
  • About 60,000 Umpqua River fall chinook were placed in acclimation pens in Winchester Bay a few weeks early. The Reedsport-Gardiner STEP group quickly assembled the pens to acclimate the fish to be released later.
  • 25,000 Tenmile Creek winter steelhead fingerlings were temporarily moved to Bandon Hatchery.

Hatchery and district fish staff worked as quickly and safely as possible to evacuate the fish. Staff have also safely evacuated themselves and their families.


Contact: Steve Mazur, 541-247-7605
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