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Imperiled Idaho sockeye salmon run falters with poor return

The number of imperiled Snake River sockeye salmon that made it back to central Idaho this year is the second worst in the last decade, but enough hatchery-raised fish exist to keep a state and federal recovery program going.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says that through Monday 159 of the federally protected fish arrived at the Sawtooth Basin near Stanley after traveling 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

That’s below the 10-year average of 690 but not bad considering biologists estimated only about 400 started the journey at Bonneville Dam, the first of eight dams the fish must pass on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

State and federal officials started a hatchery program in the 1990s when the fish teetered on the brink of extinction.

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