LEABURG, Ore. (AP) — More than 1.5 million juvenile fish evacuated from a hatchery after last year’s Columbia Gorge wildfire are being released into rivers for their journey to the Pacific Ocean.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildfire says a half-million coho evacuated from a hatchery in Cascade Locks were released last week in the Lostine River in northeastern Oregon. Another half-million will soon be released in the Umatilla River.
Also this spring, 650,000 coho will be released into the Methow and Wenatchee rivers in Washington state. And spring chinook evacuated last September will go into a tributary of Oregon’s Sandy River.
Officials ordered the evacuation because storms were passing over the area burned by the Eagle Creek fire. Officials feared a debris flow would harm water quality and kill fish at Cascade Hatchery.
The fish were moved to other Northwest hatcheries.
The released fish will migrate into the Columba River and eventually the ocean.