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Environment

Bacterial Infection Causing Salmon To Die

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Several dying and dead salmon were found in the Deschutes and Columbia rivers. The Oregon department of Fish and Wildlife says a bacterial infection is the cause.

Fish biologist Rob French with ODFW says dead fish were collected from the lower three miles of the Deschutes. He says the bacterial infection columnaris is typically associated with warm water and low oxygen conditions.

French: “It’s not uncommon for the Columbia to get to these temperatures. What’s most uncommon is how early in the year they got to these temperatures. Same for the Deschutes River.”

French says the infection is easily spread between fish. Because sockeye salmon are a tightly schooling fish and columnaris thrives in warm water, he thinks more cases of the bacteria will be seen. All species of fish found in the Columbia River are susceptible to the bacteria. French says sockeye salmon have had a strong run so far this year.