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Fish evacuated from Feather River Hatchery

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CHICO, Calif. - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife started evacuating fall-run Chinook salmon, spring-run Chinook salmon, and steelhead trout from the Feather River Hatchery Thursday and continued working through Friday.

Andrew Hughan, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said they moved five million fish to an annex just a few miles away.

The usually clear water at the hatchery turned murky because the Feather River Hatchery had overflowed because of the spillover from the Oroville Dam.

He said the fish were born in November, and are too small to live in the river. Crews throughout the Northstate and as far as Fresno came to help evacuate the fish.

"The Feather River Hatchery spawns about 30 percent of the fall-run Chinook salmon in the state, and they raise about eight million fish, and so those are fish that are planted to catch and to eat. And salmon is a four billion dollar industry in northern California, so 30 percent of our four billion is a lot of money," Hughan said.

He added four million fish will be staying at the hatchery because they were able to install a temporary filtering system. The fish at the annex will remain for a few weeks until the rains subside and the river levels recede.

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