OLYMPIA – As many as 6.2 million chinook salmon fry died last weekend when a windstorm cut power to the Minter Creek Hatchery in Pierce County and the facility’s backup generator failed.
The fry were in incubators at the Minter Creek Hatchery operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The pump that supplies water to those incubators stopped working when both the main power and backup generator failed.
WDFW staff tried to start the generator and attempted to provide water to the incubators using other methods, but those efforts were largely unsuccessful, said Eric Kinne, WDFW hatchery division manager.
“This is a devastating loss,” Kinne said. “The department is conducting an analysis to determine the root cause of what went wrong so that we can improve procedures at Minter Creek and our other hatcheries to help ensure this doesn’t happen again.”