Nearly 100 juvenile salmon and steelhead died at Little Goose Dam near Starbuck because of the large amount of debris in the Snake River this year, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
A fish separator system at the dam’s Juvenile Fish Facility became plugged with debris and overflowed about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The high water in the river and its tributaries have swept more debris into the river than usual this spring.
The Corps counted 94 fish that died when the water overflowed the system and the fish were swept out of the water.
The juvenile collection system and separator routes juvenile fish for sampling, barging or release back into the river. Corps employees had been periodically checking the system when the overflow occurred.
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To prevent further overflow and more fish dying, a switch gate in the separator system was moved to a bypass position to route fish around the blockage. Separation and sampling of juvenile fish resumed an hour later.
The Corps plans to increase monitoring of the system. It also disassembled the separator on Wednesday to remove additional debris.