Tag Archive | Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Hundreds of birds washing up dead or dying, ‘they are starving’, along the Oregon and Washington coast, USA

Hundreds of birds are washing ashore either dead or dying along the Oregon and Southwest Washington Coast.
The majority of them are common murres, which are a type of large auk bird.
Researchers say that the die-off started about three weeks ago.
Since then the Wildlife Center of the North Coast, which helps rehabilitate sick or injured sea-birds, has been getting calls daily about the problem. Right now – they are caring for close to a hundred birds- with about ten common murres coming in daily. Almost all of them are starving.
“They’re totally emaciated, sometimes there’s injuries, other times there’s not,” said Laurel Berblinger, a volunteer at the center.
According to the biologists, the fish the birds normally eat are not there.
Because of the El Nino weather phenomenon that is happening across the Pacific, scientists say the ocean is just too warm right now.
“It really limits the productivity of the ocean from the base level so in the case of the common murre which feeds on small fish, these are not as plentiful as they normally are during a normal ocean condition year,” explained Herman Biederbeck, ODFW biologist for the north coast.
The experts say if you do see a dying bird, or one in need of help, call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
But with so many dead birds along the beaches now, it’s important to keep children and dogs away from them because some of the birds could be diseased.
Biologists say they are bracing for a lot more of this. They say this die-off could easily stretch into the fall.
Courtesy of kgw.com

150,000 fish killed by disease in a hatchery in Oregon, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Disease stemming from warm water in the North Umpqua River has killed 150,000 fish at a Roseburg area fish hatchery, marking the facility’s second mass die-off this summer.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife alerted the public Friday to the deaths among its summer steelhead stock, blaming an historic drought that has heated the Umpqua’s water and allowed pathogens to thrive.
The deaths mark a second catastrophe this summer at the hatchery, which lost its entire spring Chinook stock in June after a clogged intake pipe blocked their access to water.
Jessica Sall, a spokeswoman for the state fish and wildlife agency, said agency officials do not belief the two incidents at Rock Creek are related, or linked to practices or equipment at the facility.
“The hatchery staff did everything they could to help get the fish healthy,” Sall said. “It was really just a combination of the circumstances of warm water and disease.”
The incident comes amid a difficult summer for Oregon’s coldwater fish, which have washed ashore in waterways from Portland to Bend as waters warm beyond their ability to cope.
Coldwater fish such as steelhead become stressed and vulnerable to infections when temperatures top 60 degrees. The North Umpqua River, which supplies the Rock Creek Hatchery’s water, peaked at more than 71 degrees in July.
The abnormally warm waters allowed pathogens to thrive, leading to multiple outbreaks of a bacterial infection and a skin parasite that have wiped out as much as 95 percent of the Rock Creek Hatchery’s summer steelhead stock.
Many of the fish died of ichthyophthirius, a parasite known for its devastating affect on fish. Also known as “ich,” the parasite is notorious in Oregon for killing more than 70,000 salmon in the Klamath River in 2002.
Other fish at the hatchery succumbed to columnaris, a bacteria that frays fins and eats away at gills.
Both ich and columnaris are typically present in the North Umpqua at low levels, but their numbers spike as the water warms.
The first outbreak at Rock Creek came in May.
“We immediately treated the fish and got them healthy, but once we moved them to outside raceways, the disease broke again and again,” hatchery manager Dan Meyer said in a statement.
Meyer was not immediately available for comment Friday afternoon. 
Losses peaked in mid-July, with as much as 15 percent of the hatchery’s fish dying each day.
The death toll remained a mystery until August, when the remaining fish were healthy enough to tolerate routine sampling.
Fish that survived the outbreak are scheduled to be released into the wild in October. Anglers will notice the losses when the fish return to spawn over the next two years.
Courtesy of oregonlive.com

Hundreds of spring Chinook Salmon turning up dead in Oregon rivers, USA

Hundreds of spring Chinook salmon have been found dead in Oregon rivers over the past week, in a sign that abnormally high water temperatures are taking a toll on the threatened species, wildlife officials said on Friday.
Low snowpack linked to a historic drought has prevented icy-cold runoff from entering rivers as normal this year, according to federal hydrologists.
Temperatures in the Willamette River, a tributary of the Columbia River, have risen from 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) over the past week, about 12 degrees F (6.5 Celsius) higher than it was the year prior, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Rick Swart said.
“Anything above 70 degrees, the fish are really stressed,” Swart said.
Overall, Swart said it would take several more years of warm rivers to create a significant long-term setback for Chinook salmon populations, which have been returning to the Willamette River at levels not seen for decades.
As of June 14, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials had counted more than 51,000 Chinook passing through a fish-counting station on the river, far above the 50-year average of 41,000.
A majority of the fish found dead so far also were hatchery raised, rather than the wild fish designated as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Swart said. He added that a biologist’s spot-check showed at least 11 wild Chinook had died on the Clackamas in recent days.
While spring Chinook typically die in the fall after spawning and it is not unusual for some to die every spring and summer, pre-spawning deaths this year are both more numerous and earlier in the season than is typical, Swart said.
To cope with the conditions, some salmon have pushed into tributaries of the Willamette, where temperatures, while higher than normal, are below the 70 degree threshold (21 Celsius), he said.
Some 50 fish that attempted to make the journey from the Willamette to the Clackamas were found dead this week in that tributary.
Warm waters could ultimately also challenge fish hatcheries, but at present these government-overseen breeders do not expect an impact this year, he said.
Courtesy of reuters.com

Massive die off of jellyfish washed up on Rockaway Beach, Oregon, USA

(Photo: Don Best)
Thousands of jellyfish-like creatures were seen piled up on Rockaway Beach Sunday morning in what appeared to be a massive die-off.
The animals are called Velella velella. They’re like a cousin to the jellyfish.
They are commonly called “purple sailors,” “little sail,” and “by the wind sailors.”
The die-offs occur each spring along beaches from Oregon to California.
Velella velella typically live in the open ocean, but when warm water and storms draw them near shore, the wind blows them onto beaches, where they die in piles.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says Velella velella do sting their prey while in the water, but they are harmless to humans.
The creatures are like a cousin to the jellyfish.
The creatures are like a cousin to the jellyfish. (Photo: Don Best)
Courtesy of nwcn.com

Large die off of fish found in a river in Oregon, America

Fish Kill Alert

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office called the number of dead fish found “abnormal.”

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Quality are investigating.

Kelly Reis, a spokeswoman for ODFW, said it is not known right now how many fish died. An agency biologist is still counting and identifying the fish.

She said the dead fish were found almost two miles downstream of a Springfield wood products plant that caught fire Thursday. Officials don’t know if the fish died because of the fire.

Reis said a staff person from the city of Springfield informed officials of the dead fish Friday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office is advising people to stay out of the Willamette River near the confluence Mill Race and the river at Island Park until more is known about the situation. The area officials are concerned about is from Island Park down to Alton Baker.

Officials also say dead fish located or fish caught near the river shouldn’t be eaten.

Thousands of dead fish due to algae in Devils Lake, ‘never seen anything like it’ in Oregon, America

A day after 8,400 trout were stocked in Devils Lake, the man that grew them shook his head and leveled his camera at a shoreline littered with dead fish.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said David Welch, manager of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Salmon River Hatchery. “I’m shocked, and I don’t know what we can do about it. It makes you feel helpless.”