Oroville Dam was crumbling on Feb. 13, 2017 and the word was given to evacuate 180,000 people below the hulking structure. While most fled the scene, a handful stayed back to help the local salmon and steelhead population.
Just below the dam, where the auxiliary spillway was forecasted to fail within the hour, brave souls from the Department of Fish & Wildlife, CalFire, the California Highway Patrol and other volunteers rushed to evacuate juvenile salmon and steelhead from the Feather River Hatchery, where the fish were in eminent danger of suffocating.
Thick sediment washing down the hill from the stricken dam was choking the facility and the fish that lived there. The rescue teams quickly got the fish out of the raceways and into trucks and then were whisked away downstream to the cleaner waters of the Feather River Annex Hatchery.
Without the selfless and heroic actions of these 132 people who worked through the night, approximately 5 million juvenile fish were saved!
Those folks who put their own lives at risk to save nearly an entire year class of Feather River fish got recognized today when they were awarded Certificates of Appreciation by the State of California. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Assemblyman Brian Dahle.
Additionally, Hatchery Manager Anna Kastner accepted a plaque on behalf of the CDFW from members of the Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association as a token of appreciation for the huge effort to save the fish. John McManus of the Golden Gate Salmon Association was also on hand and thanked everyone from his organization.