WILDLIFE

Tens of thousands of live salmon fell off a truck in Oregon – and into a creek

Apr 8, 2024, 6:30 AM | Updated: 7:05 am

A tanker truck carrying fish was involved in an accident in northeast Oregon on March 29....

A tanker truck carrying fish was involved in an accident in northeast Oregon on March 29. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via CNN Newsource)

(Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — When a truck carrying over 100,000 salmon crashed and overturned in Oregon, it might have spelled disaster for the fish aboard, which were intended to replenish local populations in the Imnaha River.

But in a miraculous twist of fortune, over 70,000 of the fish landed in a nearby creek and are expected to survive.

The accident took place on March 29 in northeast Oregon, according to a news release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The truck was carrying 102,000 spring Chinook smolts, or young salmon, in the life phase in which they transition from freshwater to the open ocean.

“The accident occurred on a sharp corner with the 53-foot truck rolling onto the passenger side, skidding on its side on the pavement, and then going over a rocky embankment causing it to roll onto its roof,” says the news release.

The driver received minor injuries, according to the department.

The truck overturned close to Lookingglass Creek, a tributary of the Grande Ronde River. Around 77,000 young salmon made it into the creek and are expected to return in future years to spawn.

Not all of the fish were so lucky: 25,529 smolts died. Their bodies were recovered either in the tanker or on the streambank, according to the news release.

The salmon were meant to be released in the Imnaha River, a 77-mile long watercourse in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The smolts lost constitute about 20 percent of the total salmon that will be released in the river this year, says the news release. Because of the loss, “Fishery managers expect to see about 500-900 fewer adult fish returning in 2026 and 2027,” according to the department.

Salmon are raised at Lookingglass hatchery, then transported back and released to Imnaha to help combat threats to their population, according to Seth White, a professor in the department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences at Oregon State University and director of the Oregon hatchery Research Center. “The Imnaha River spring Chinook Salmon population depends on hatcheries to sustain their numbers,” he told CNN in an email.

He explained that salmon are resilient animals, which will help many of them survive their unplanned tumble into the creek.

“In many ways salmon are very resilient and that’s why they survived millennia in a geologically active part of the world,” he told CNN. “Many of the salmon that got spilled into the creek will likely survive because they’re adaptable—within limits—and can learn new environments quickly.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Related: Group petitions U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect migratory bird called Wilson’s phalarope

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Wildlife

Suicide Rock in Parley's Canyon in 2023, before the myrtle spurge was sprayed with treatment....

Lindsay Aerts, KSL TV

Roundup sprayed via drone in Millcreek, Parley’s canyons to kill invasive weed. DWR says it’s needed

In an attempt to kill weeds, the Department of Wildlife Resources sprayed pesticides in the foothills of Millcreek and Parley’s canyons.

15 hours ago

A yearling moose was found in the Ogden foothills Thursday morning....

Emma Keddington

Moose found on homeowner’s property in Ogden foothills

A young moose was found in the foothills of Ogden Thursday morning. Here's what to do if you encounter one.

1 day ago

FILE: A boat speeds past the Tamarisk on the Colorado River. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)...

Curt Gresseth

Invasive tamarisk tree sprouting more roots along Virgin, Colorado rivers

The invasive and highly flammable Tamarisk tree is taking root along the Virgin River and Colorado River Basin.

1 day ago

A mountain lion shows its teeth, a sign of aggression....

Mariah Maynes

What do you do if you encounter a mountain lion?

As more people begin to participate in summer recreation activities, the DWR provided tips for preventing and surviving mountain lion encounters.

3 days ago

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is increasing the fish limit at Fall Creek and it's tributa...

Tammy Kikuchi

Fishing limit will increase ahead of lake poisonings

Before the Utah Division of Natural Resources can poison and reset, they are increasing the limit from 4 to 16 fish.

9 days ago

A large walleye caught in Lake Powell. Fish like this one have been illegally introduced to Strawbe...

Tammy Kikuchi

Reward offered for Strawberry Walleye invasion

The DWR is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who illegally introduced walleye fish to Strawberry Reservoir.

10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Tens of thousands of live salmon fell off a truck in Oregon – and into a creek