It seems counterintuitive, but the famed “red fish” sockeye salmon at the Idaho Fish and Game Eagle Island hatchery could be victim of too much water.
F&G staffers are trying to defy gravity with sandbags to keep the Boise River from overflowing its banks and flooding the hatchery.
Each morning staff members from Fish and Game’s Eagle Hatchery patrol the irrigation ditch along the Boise River checking for leaks. Endangered sockeye salmon are housed at the facility and the fear is flood waters reaching the well or the electrical pumps that keep water going to the fish.
The irrigation ditch has been reinforced with sand bags where leaks have sprung. Building the banks higher with sandbags is not an option because the flood waters would just go elsewhere, damaging neighboring properties. So for now, the staff has stacked bags around the lowest buildings and are prepared to spread more sandbags if the river continues to rise.
“We have about five thousand bags filled up right here that we can put around other buildings if needed,” said Dan Baker, Eagle Hatchery manager. A contingency plan is also in place to move the fish to another hatchery if flooding causes the hatchery to lose power.
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