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CDFW stocks Feather River with young steelhead saved during Oroville Dam crisis

Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Monday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife began a week-long process of stocking half a million young Steelhead smolts into the Feather River near Yuba City.

The 125,000 fish released Monday were the first of the fish reared from eggs rescued from the Feather River Fish Hatchery during last year's Oroville Dam crisis.

Officials noted that more than one million steelhead eggs were endangered in February 2017 when silt and debris overwhelmed the hatchery water system following the spillway failure. With less than 72 hours to complete fixes on aeration and filtration systems, CDFW engineers went to work to save the steelhead eggs stacked in hundreds of trays at the hatchery.

Officials said Feather River steelhead are on the state and federal list of species of concern, and the hatchery is key to maintaining the viable run in the Central Valley.

Engineers redesigned the water in-flow system using city water for the incubating steelhead. They also brought in massive six-foot-tall charcoal filters to purify the city water and reconfigured the aeration system. Officials said those alterations made this week's release of more than 500,000 steelheads possible.

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