Idaho Flood Threatens Rare Salmon
Sep. 08, 1998
BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ A flash flood carried sediment from an old zinc mine onto spawning sites of the endangered chinook salmon and washed out a forest road that stranded campers.
Forest and highway crews worked Tuesday to reopen the road washed out by intense rainfall late Sunday in the Sawtooth National Forest.
The flood followed down a creek past the inactive Hoodoo Mine site, washing sediment downstream and turning the main Salmon River black.
``It's just one of these old mine sites that has never been cleaned up,'' said Mike Larkin of the state Department of Fish and Game. ``When it does get hit with intense thunderstorm. It just comes unglued.''
Wildlife biologists were more concerned by the color of the river than any toxins that might have washed from the mine.
``The water temperatures were in the lower 70s. But when you have the black water, it acts like a solar oven, which could virtually kill all the (young salmon) in the river,'' Larkin said.
No dead fish had been detected as of Tuesday.