Die Off of Non-Native Fish

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The Klamath River Renewal Corporation says it’s seeing a die-off of non-native fish in the remnants of Copco Lake in Iron Gate Reservoir.

According to KRRC, the die-off of perch, catfish, and bass was expected as the stirred-up sediments in the water make conditions intolerable for the fish. KRRC also says that dead trout may be discovered in the coming days as well.

The corporation says they’re approaching the end of the drawdown phase. It says the projects of this scale can get messy, but that it’s necessary to improve the state of the river in the long run.

In an interview last month, CEO Mark Branson reaffirmed this isn’t permanent. Bransom said, “We have a temporary condition here, so we need to just allow for this to change over time.”

The KRCC says January was chosen as the time of the year to breach the dams because it minimizes the negative impacts of the sediment flush on the species it is working to recover.

It says while it is unpleasant to see the die off of these fish the drawdown period poses long term benefits to the Klamath River, including avoiding the mass introduction of non-native species to the main stem.

We contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for comment but haven’t heard back yet.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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