Failed irrigation ditch puts marine life in danger

By on October 21, 2011

Scientists fear marine life could be in danger after a failed earthen irrigation ditch sent clay-ridden water into salmon egg protected areas.

According to the press, a 100-foot piece of a main Eagle Point Irrigation Ditch failed in Big Butte Creek, sending a surge of water chugging down a clay hillside. Officials at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Rogue District fear the clay particles settled out and cloaked the redds, choking off water flow to the eggs and killing them.

Although the cause of the irrigation failure is still unknown, crews will spend the next few days surveying the spawning grounds to determine what, if any, egg loss. According to the press, Hazel Brown, the former EPID manager who is now a district adviser, said the irrigation ditch uses a stretch of canal to transfer about 86 cubic feet per second of Big Butte Creek water to irrigators.

Read more at Mail Tribune.

Image credit: Shutterpoint

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