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Watch 100,000 Live Salmon Escape After Truck Crashes in Oregon

Image by thefinalmiracle via Depositphotos

If you were driving through Northeast Oregon on Friday, March 29th, there’s a good chance you witnessed the aftermath of a 53-foot truck lying upside down next to Lookingglass Creek, a gateway to the Grande Ronde River.

Onboard the vehicle was around 102,000 live young salmon and a driver (who luckily avoided major injuries). A sharp corner caused the truck to topple over, and, much to the luck of its cargo, it happened alongside a creek, jumping distance from a network of multiple rivers and streams.

Oregon. Image by jpldesigns via Depositphotos.

It’s estimated that out of the 102,000 transported salmon, around 77,000 survived — in other words, they reached the body of water — but approximately 25,000 perished.

You can imagine the scene: a disgruntled truck with half of its body in the river and over a hundred thousand fish darting for safety, trying to navigate the obstacles of rocks and uneven ground.

YouTube video
Thousands of spring Chinook smolts lost in crash“, Source: YouTube, Uploaded: KEZI 9

Initially, the plan was to offload the salmon at the Imnaha River, a hatchery renowned for tribal and sport harvest but with a diminishing salmon population.

Fortunately, for the sake of the Lookingglass Creek ecosystem, it already has an abundance of salmon, meaning this unfortunate spill won’t alter its dynamic from prey to predator. 

A press release by Eastern Oregon’s ODFW fish hatchery coordinator, Andrew Gibbs, stated: “We are thankful the ODFW employee driving the truck was not seriously injured…. this should not impact our ability to collect future brood stock or maintain full production goals in the future.”

Importance of Oregon’s Rivers

The Columbia River Gorge. Image by Rigucci via Depositphotos.

Salmon hold a significant role in Oregon’s natural heritage, symbolizing both its importance and need to be replenished.

The states rivers, particularly the Columbia and its tributaries, serve as vital spawning grounds for various salmon species, including Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye. These fish endure treacherous journeys, swimming from the ocean to their natal streams to reproduce. Their presence not only sustains local ecosystems but also supports indigenous cultures and recreational fishing economies, which is why conservation efforts and habitat restoration projects play crucial roles in safeguarding Oregon’s iconic salmon populations for future generations.

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