Viewing a salmon run in the Pacific Northwest is a powerful experience. We’ve put together this list of salmon watching locations from organizations around Washington State, so you can see this epic migration in your own community. Don’t see your favorite public viewing spot here? Let us know so we can add it!
Statewide Salmon Watching
Salmon in Whatcom County
Salmon in Skagit County
Salmon in Kitsap County
Salmon in King County
Salmon in South Puget Sound
Tips for Salmon Viewing
- Respect the salmon, the lands and waters, and the people who steward them, especially Indigenous peoples whose cultures have been deeply connected with salmon since time immemorial. The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission are good resources to learn about the relationship between tribal people and salmon in the area you’re visiting. The Snoqualmie Tribe Ancestral Lands Movement shares ways to practice respectful recreation on ancestral Snoqualmie territory.
- Give salmon space, and stay out of the stream. They are working hard, and if you’re near the spawning grounds, the streambed may already contain redds (nests of salmon eggs). Walking in the water disturbs the fish and can kill the eggs.
- Polarized sunglasses can make it easier to see fish in the water.
- Learn about the different species and their behavior. The local organizations below have great resources. You can also find an identification guide from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife here.
- Observe the whole environment. Is the streambed rocks, sand, gravel, or a combination? Are there trees shading the water? What’s the weather like? What other animals do you see using this habitat? How much human influence can you see?
- Bring the experience home by taking action. We have 10 ways you can help save salmon, from building a healthier environment, to contributing to science, to sharing your salmon love with your friends, family, and leaders. Many of the links below also have ways you can volunteer for salmon recovery!
P.S. Salmon viewing can be an at-home experience too! Watch salmon returning to the Issaquah Hatchery on their live feed here. And you can join our Hood Canal steelhead underwater any time at LLTK’s livestreaming Fish Camera!
Long Live the Kings joins all those honoring the memory of Lorraine Loomis, who died this week at the age of 81. As Director of Swinomish Fisheries and Chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Lorraine was a champion for salmon and the interests of her Tribe, her community and all people who cared about fish, fishing and the environment that supports them all. She was a beloved friend and leader for her passion, kindness, strength, and tireless commitment to a future for salmon and tribal fisheries.
The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission shares some of Lorraine’s own powerful words in their tribute to her life:
“None of us tribal natural resources managers are working for today. We are all working for tomorrow. We are working to make certain there will be salmon for the next seven generations.”
We will miss Lorraine terribly, but we’re determined to carry on her legacy in our work and efforts to guarantee that salmon will be here for this and many generations to come.
Long Live the Kings is investing in the future of salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. In order for young people to champion this cause for decades to come, we need to give them the opportunity to learn about their own environments, feel connected, and be empowered to take action. Thanks to a grant from Boeing and support from partners like NOAA, we’ve been able to revamp our classroom materials to provide educators free resources for remote and in-person learning environments. Hear more about the material and other salmon education resources below.
Survive the Sound in the Classroom
Our educational program designed to accompany the Survive the Sound migration provides free resources for teachers to do with their classes either online or in the physical classroom. There are six activities mostly suited for 2nd-6th grade, but which can be adapted to any grade K-12. The activities discuss the salmon life cycle, watersheds, Steelhead anatomy, and more! These place-based lessons can be taught anytime, but are especially relevant during the weeks leading up to, during, and after the migration in early May.
Survive the Sound in the Classroom lessons are connected to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and can be incorporated into Amplify units as well as Washington State’s Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum, Since Time Immemorial. This program is also researched based, using data from real juvenile steelhead on their way out to the Puget Sound. It is a great resource to include in your STEM or Social Studies units. From math activities to engineering design problems to discussing the human impact on the watershed, Survive the Sound in the Classroom is a great tool to connect abstract concepts to a tangible, meaningful subject- salmon and steelhead in Puget Sound.
Survive the Sound can be taught virtually or in person, with digital lessons suitable for google classrooms and Seesaw lessons as well as PDFs to print and distribute to students. The lessons can be flexible to your current scheduling whether you only have time for 5 minutes a day or 45. During the migration, students can also journal along and form hypotheses about what their fish might be experiencing.
To learn more about Survive the Sound in the Classroom, please check out this educator training video:
Since Time Immemorial
Since Time Immemorial (STI) is Washington State’s tribal sovereignty curriculum for social studies. Salmon science and Survive the Sound’s activities can be easily woven into STI’s units, especially the Elementary pathways: “Honoring the Salmon” and “Salmon Homecoming” as well as the Middle School pathways: “River of Kings” and “Fish Wars”. As you think about what elements of salmon education you want to bring into your classroom or program, check out these videos from local PNW tribal members:
- Combining graphic art and storytelling, Roger Fernandez of the Clallum Tribe tells the traditional story of the Salmon Boy. Listen to a short story with a valuable lesson about our connection to the environment while also learning about Coast Salish art.
- “I am salmon”, a video about the 5 pacific salmon narrated by a tribal member. This video discusses the life cycle, diet, and environmental needs of salmon from a native perspective.
- Billy Frank Jr. narrates “sčədadxʷ (salmon)”, a short video describing the importance of salmon to the Nisqually and other tribes. This beautifully animated video explores the past, present, and future of salmon heath.
Salmon in Schools
Many Conservation Districts and local government organizations such as Seattle Public Utilities offer programs for teachers to raise salmon in their classrooms and release them in the Spring. This is a great way for students to see fish grow up from eggs to fry and get to know them close and personal. These are a few resources you can find your local Salmon in Schools program:
- Foster Creek Conservation District- Douglas County, Washington
- Franklin Conservation District offers many different environmental education programs including Salmon in the Classroom and Drain Rangers, a stormwater education program.
- Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group– with the mission of making sure salmon are once again abundant in the Pacific Northwest, HCSEG provides Salmon in the Classroom to Pioneer, North Mason, and Shelton School Districts.
- Seattle Public Utilities
- Sound Salmon Solutions provides Salmon in Schools in the Snohomish county area and also features an education center accompanied by a “micro hatchery”
- Tri-State Steelheaders
Visit your local hatchery
In-person or virtual field trips to a hatchery are a great way to incorporate experiential learning about salmon needs, life cycle, and anatomy. There are many hatcheries that provide educational opportunities including:
Please send us your experiences with Salmon Education in your classroom! email@example.com
The movement to save salmon is built on many fronts. From cutting edge computer modeling with artificial intelligence to a 20-minute lesson in a 3rd grade classroom, we need progress in all areas to rebuild salmon populations for the next generation. Here are 10 things YOU can do to help save salmon and steelhead.
- Learn about Salmon. Salmon conservation and recovery requires us to deal with long standing problems, but new problems and solutions are regularly identified. Subscribing to the Long Live the Kings email list is an easy way to be updated on some of the latest salmon news. We send our quarterly e-news, Fishues, as well as special messages. Sign up at the bottom of this page. For students and educators, please visit our classroom page for lesson plans, videos, and more resources about salmon.
- Dispose of your waste properly. It’s tempting to save some time and throw everything into one garage bin, but those few seconds saved can results in environmental damage that is very difficult to undo. Get it right the first time, especially with pharmaceuticals and hazardous waste. Each city or county will have its own guidance on waste disposal, but for King County residents, follow instructions here. And, don’t forget to pick up your pet waste!
- Don’t drip and drive. Leaking fluids from a car or truck is often washed into our rivers, streams, and in front of our ocean beaches. These chemicals are toxic to wildlife and extremely difficult and expensive to remove from the water. Get your vehicle running right and help save salmon by following the tips here.
- Be RainWise. Water from storms can wash pollutants into lakes, creek, and Puget Sound. RainWise is a rebate program that helps eligible property owners manage stormwater by installing rain gardens and/or cisterns on private property. This prevents flooding, adds attractive landscaping, and can provide water for summer irrigation. If you don’t have space for a rain garden, consider adding native plants to your yard. Native plants are naturally adapted to your local climate, weather, soil types, and rainfall so they don’t need extra watering, fertilizers, or pesticides. Like a rain garden, native plants help absorb rain, hold soil, and trap runoff.
- Tell them how much you care. Every year, only a small fraction of the proposed habitat restoration and environmental monitoring projects are funded. Your elected officials care about salmon, steelhead, and the environment, but they are faced with hard decisions about what to do with limited funds. They need your support to create the laws and devote the funding necessary to save our salmon. Find and contact your legislators here.
- Understand tribal treaty rights. Since time immemorial, tribes have stewarded the Salish Sea and continue to today. Treaties guarantee tribes the rights to some natural resources, and as these resources have declined, tribes have used these rights to protect resources. Understanding this history will make you a more powerful salmon conservation advocate.
- Support businesses who support salmon conservation. When possible, we encourage you to purchase products and services from LLTK partners and business that support environmental conservation. View our partners here and learn more about Salmon-Safe products and services here.
- Buy a fishing license. We know, this one sounds counterintuitive, but sustainable fishing is critical salmon recovery. Fishing provides an opportunity to learn about the environment and build a deeper connection with this amazing resource. Between 2015 and 2017, licensing revenue contributed $12.1 million to healthy habitat. Find more info on fishing licenses here.
- Volunteer. Long Live the Kings and others have opportunities to volunteer your time to help save salmon. Planting trees and removing invasive species is a popular way to volunteer, but few people realize that your professional skill might be much more valuable. Graphic designs, advertisers, construction workers, web developers, and many others have service they can donate to fundraisers or provide directly to organization in-kind. Sign up to volunteer here.
- Donate. Your donations help Long Live the Kings launch new projects, take bold action, grow the movement to save salmon, and much more. We cannot thank our donors enough for what they have helped us accomplish. Join them here.
Are there more ways to save salmon? ABSOLUTLEY! Share your ideas below.
Microplastics in our water is a relatively new problem and many are rightfully concerned. Spurred by encouragement from the broader LLTK community, we reviewed the available research to determine if marine plastics pose a threat to salmon survival. The following information is based on studies assessing marine plastic effects on zooplankton and fish conducted inside and outside of the Salish Sea. We looked specifically at zooplankton and forage fish when reviewing available research because they are important food for salmon and may play a role in transferring plastics through marine food webs.
As many of us know, plastic is a pervasive human-caused pollutant in the marine environment. Plastics can enter the marine environment either from marine-based activities like fishing, aquaculture, and shipping, or land-based activities that result in wastewater effluent, runoff, or river discharge (Desforges et al. 2014). When we’re thinking about plastics affecting salmon, size matters. Smaller sized plastics less than 5 millimeters, also known as microplastics, are concerning because they are the most likely to be consumed by juvenile and adult salmon either intentionally (they can look like food) or accidentally.
Upon consumption, marine plastics can physically and chemically affect zooplankton and fish. Physical effects from eating it can obstruct their mouths and throats, block their digestive track, artificially fill their stomachs, and be absorbed into other parts of their body (Cedervall et al. 2012; Cole et al. 2013; Rochman et al. 2013; Desforges et al. 2014, 2015). Chemical effects may also occur from the toxic ingredients in the plastic (e.g., petroleum products) or from environmental chemicals that attached to the plastic from seawater (e.g., PCBs) (Cole et al. 2013; Rochman et al. 2013; Hipfner et al. 2018). It’s important to note that effects from plastics may be unique among species, types of contaminants, and types and sizes of plastics (Desforges et al. 2015; Ašmonaitė et al. 2018).
Despite marine plastic pollution being a widely known environmental issue, very little field research has been done in our region to assess how salmon are affected after consuming marine plastic either directly or via their food. Most of the research assessing effects has been laboratory-based and results are often varied. In 2019, researchers performed a thorough review of plastic effects on marine organisms and found an effect was more likely to be detected at higher concentrations of microplastics and mortality occurred at extreme concentrations that are not typically found in the environment (Bucci et al. 2019). This review indicates that field studies may provide a more realistic understanding of exposure and consumption rates for target species, such as salmon.
Along the British Columbia coastline, two different field studies assessed marine plastic consumption rates for zooplankton and forage fish, important food for salmon. In the first study, scientists determined about 3% of copepods and around 6% of euphausiids (AKA krill) were eating microplastics and that there was no correlation between the amount of microplastics eaten and the amount in the seawater (Desforges et al. 2015). In the second study, scientists determined that very few forage fish, sand lance (1.5%) and herring (2.0%), had eaten microplastics (Hipfner et al. 2018). This research also suggested that larger forage fish are less likely to consume plastic. Together, these studies indicate that zooplankton and forage fish are most likely NOT conduits for indirect plastic consumption in salmon on the outer coast of British Columbia.
As was mentioned previously, very little is known about the impacts of marine plastics on salmon either through direct consumption or via their food (pers. comm. A. Spanjer 2019). The first and only field study regarding plastic consumption rates by salmon in the Salish Sea determined juvenile Chinook consume an average of 1.15 microplastic pieces per day (Collicutt et al. 2018). At this rate of consumption, it is unlikely to lead to significant mortality events. This study also found no significant relationship between the amount of microplastics found in seawater and sediment compared to the amount consumed by the juvenile Chinook. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is currently doing a laboratory-based study examining how long polyester fiber is retained in the gut of juvenile Chinook after consumption, but that research is currently ongoing (pers. comm. A. Spanjer 2019).
Based on the available research investigating marine plastic effects on zooplankton and fish, we can conclude that marine plastics do not currently pose a significant threat to salmon survival in the Salish Sea. However, marine plastics will continue to persist as pollution on land and in our oceans if we do not take action to reduce them. Ellen MacArthur with the World Economic Forum estimated that the world’s oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050. Whether her estimate is accurate or not, we can all do our part to help reduce plastic pollution. Please see below for a list of five ways you can reduce marine plastic pollution:
- Join a beach cleanup – Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and The Surfrider Foundation are frequently hosting beach and lake cleanups to reduce the amount of debris in our waterways.
- Remember your reusable containers – Actively using your reusable water bottle, coffee mug, or to-go containers will not only reduce plastic but can save you money in the long run.
- Buy microbead-free products –Microbeads are too tiny to be filtered out at the wastewater treatment facility. Buying personal products that do not contain microbeads will reduce the amount of microplastics entering our oceans.
- Reduce clothes washing – When we wash our clothes, they shed microfibers that do not get filtered out, like microbeads. By reducing how often we wash our clothes, we can lower the number of microfibers that are being released. We’re not saying wear dirty clothes, but if you can, wear items more than once and choose natural fiber clothing (these fibers will biodegrade over time).
- Make informed decisions – As consumers, we can make conscientious decisions about the products we buy and the companies we support. This can take the form of buying items in bulk rather than individually wrapped items, as well as the packaging our purchases come in. By being aware of how much plastic your household generates, you can find ways to reduce it and ultimately lower your carbon footprint.
Ašmonaitė, G., Larsson, K., Undeland, I., Sturve, J., Almroth, B.E. 2018. Size matters: Ingestion of relatively large microplastics contaminated with environmental pollutants posed little risk for fish health and fillet quality. Environ. Sci. Technol., 52: 14381 – 14391.
Bucci, K., Tulio, M., Rochman, C.M. 2019. What is known and unknown about the effects of plastic pollution: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Ecological Society of America, doi:10.1002/eap.2044.
Cole, M., Lindeque, P., Fileman, E., Halsband, C., Goodhead, R., Moger, J., Galloway, T.S. 2013. Microplastic ingestion by zooplankton. Environ. Sci. Technol.,47: 6646 – 6655.
Collicutt, B., Juanes, F., Dudas, S.E. 2019. Microplastics in juvenile Chinook salmon and their nearshore environments on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Environmental Pollution, 244: 135 – 142.
Desforges, J.W., Galbraith, M., Dangerfield, N., Ross, P.S. 2014. Widespread distribution of microplastics in subsurface seawater in the NE Pacific Ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 79: 94 – 99.
Desforges, J.W., Galbraith, M., Ross, P.S. 2015. Ingestion of microplastics by zooplankton in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol., 69: 320 – 330.
Gall, S.C. and Thompson, R.C. 2015. The impact of debris on marine life. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 92: 170 – 179.
Hipfner, J.M., Galbraith, M., Tucker, S., Studholme, K.R., Domalik, A.D., Pearson, S.F., Good, T.P., Ross, P.S., Hodum, P. 2018. Two forage fishes as potential conduits for the vertical transfer of microfibres in Northeastern Pacific Ocean food webs. Environmental Pollution, 239: 215 – 222.
Rochman, C.M., Hoh, E., Kurobe, T., Teh, S.J. 2013. Ingested plastic transfers hazardous chemicals to fish and induces hepatic stress. Scientific Reports, 3: 3263.
Long Live the Kings and Seattle City Light have been proud partners in salmon recovery since LLTK’s inception. Together, we power projects around our region that help salmon and steelhead overcome the many challenges they face. This most recent City Light project in Stossel Creek is just the type of work we want to see our private, public, and nonprofit partners coming together to accomplish.
In 2015, Seattle City Light purchased and is in the process of restoring a 154-acre property along Stossel Creek, a tributary to the Tolt River in eastern King County, Washington. City Light purchased the property as part of its proactive Endangered Species Act Land Program, which purchases property containing important habitat for endangered and threatened fish species. This program was established by the City of Seattle in 1999 under Resolution 29905 to help restore and protect habitat for fish protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Stossel Creek is a tributary in the Snohomish River watershed approximately 30 miles east of Seattle, which provides important habitat for ESA-threatened steelhead and coho salmon. The City Light property contains over 3,500 feet of Stossel Creek as well as an additional 1,300 feet of an unnamed creek and wetlands. Steelhead and coho spend a significant portion of their life as juveniles in streams, so protecting or improving the creek habitat on the property can improve the water quality of the creek as well as the river.
The previous owner logged portions of the Stossel Creek property in 2012, which had not been replanted at the time of purchase. Erosion from the logged areas and dirt access roads may contribute sediment to streams where it can smother steelhead and coho redds, killing the eggs, or get trapped in fish gills, impairing breathing. Thus, key objectives in purchasing the property were to protect the wetlands, soils, and streamside vegetation and to reforest logged portions of the site. Trees provide shade that maintains cool water temperatures in streams and associated wetlands, a critical need particularly in the summer months. Trees also provide habitat for insects that are a food source to both fish species.
City Light looked for outside funding to aid with replanting the site, and in doing so developed a unique partnership with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Northwest Natural Resource Group, and Seattle Public Utilities (the Partners), to apply for and receive a grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, as well as funds from Carter Subaru of King County. As the Partners planned the replanting of the Stossel Creek property with the objective of reforesting the site, they took the long view of how the climate will change as the site matures. As climate changes, so too will ecosystems that are shaped by it. The Partners in this project used this understanding to plan a forest restoration project that takes into account the expected changes in climate to ultimately result in a more complex and resilient forest structure by the end of the century. Rather than reforest in a traditional way, this Stossel Creek site was planted using a climate-adapted approach.
The Partners’ approach included planting tree seedlings from seed sources originating from southwestern Oregon and northern California, where the climate is similar to the warmer and drier summer climate expected at the Stossel Creek site during the mid to late 21st century. These seedlings were planted alongside locally sourced Douglas-fir and Western redcedar. A total of seven different tree species native to the Pacific Northwest, both deciduous and coniferous, were planted to provide relatively high species diversity. This method increases the functional redundancy of a forest – meaning, forest resilience that comes from multiple species from different taxonomic groups playing similar roles in the ecosystem. Plantings were located away from natural regeneration and grouped by associations suitable for local site conditions such as soil type and aspect. Trees were planted in a wider spacing than traditional methods to decrease the potential for competition during future droughts. These strategies were designed to increase the chances for long-term success of the forested landscape on the Stossel Creek property. Success will be determined through at least a decade of monitoring of tree health and survival within established monitoring plots.
The climate-adapted reforestation of the Stossel Creek property is a novel project designed to explore new replanting strategies that intentionally account for climate change. Through an innovative public-private partnership, this project demonstrates the use of new tools and approaches to restoring and conserving natural resources available today, with the ultimate goal of establishing a resilient forest into the foreseeable future and ameliorating expected climate impacts to aquatic habitat. Demonstrating and recognizing the role of these practices in creating more-resilient forests can help land managers plan and implement more comprehensive approaches to forest restoration and, in this case, fish habitat protection as the climate changes.
Links to film coverage:
Over the last year, Long Live the Kings has been forging new partnerships and making new connections up and down the Lake Washington Ship Canal. We’re part of a loose coalition of diverse interests: commercial fishing companies, boat maintenance yards, the Port of Seattle, American Waterway Operators and the Lake Washington-Cedar-Sammamish Watershed Salmon Recovery Council, among others, working to ensure that the Ballard Locks get the attention and funding they deserve to remain open and facilitate safe fish migration.
What is the issue at the Locks?
For anadromous fish like salmon, the Ballard Locks represent the biggest barrier in the watershed. All salmon have to navigate the Locks to go to the ocean and return to spawn, running the gauntlet of 100-year-old machinery and a patchwork of workarounds. The fish ladder functions as it should for returning adults, but as they travel through the large and small Locks, they risk injury by getting pulled into saltwater drains. The small salmon smolts (outmigrating juveniles) face even more danger. They “go with the flow” and end up exiting the Locks one of two ways: the lucky smolts exit via slides or flumes installed by the Army Corps of Engineers for safer passage, while the unlucky ones get sucked into the filling tunnels and scraped along rough, barnacle-covered walls – more on that and photos below!
Managers have known about these issues since a plan to recover Chinook was written in 2005. The Army Corps of Engineers partnered with the Salmon Recovery Council to make temporary fixes and minor improvements, but funding for permanent fixes and improvements for passage was the primary barrier (no pun intended). The erroneous notion in Washington DC had been that the Ballard Locks were largely a recreational and tourist amenity, and so we were unable to access maintenance dollars when competing with the big, commerce-moving infrastructure of the Mississippi or even the Columbia River facilities. Thanks to our new Ship Canal partners, that notion was put to rest when they commissioned a study to demonstrate the huge value of the Locks, which provide a freshwater port on Puget Sound for the Alaskan Fishing fleet and an entire maritime industry. They estimated over $1.2 billion in annual economic losses to the maritime industry alone if the Locks were to fail. We credit this study as catalyzing our coalition of partners who welcomed the “salmon interests” into their fold and together we worked with the Washington congressional delegation and every level of US Army Corps of Engineers to make the problem and solution well understood.
What is the solution?
The solution is a suite of projects for the 101-year-old structure, making a series of necessary upgrades and replacements to ensure the continued operation of the Locks while also improving survival of juvenile and adult migrating salmon. This series of projects will take several years to complete and we will need to keep up the pressure to fund them and see it through. The project that benefits fish most happens to be the first project on the list, so it won’t be long before we see a benefit to sockeye, Chinook, and coho salmon. The project entails replacing the valves and machinery of the ‘filling culvert’ mentioned earlier: a huge tunnel that moves lake water into the large lock to fill it during a lockage (when a vessel is raised or lowered to the the appropriate water level). The upgrades allow the culvert gates to open and close at different speeds to slow the velocity of water entering the locks during the smolt outmigration. This improvement, along with the smolt slides and flumes that you see as you walk across the dam at the Locks, should markedly increase the number of smolts that experience safe passage from the Ship Canal to Puget Sound.
Very importantly, the overall safety and functionality of the Locks is being improved. Last year’s funding was approved to replace a crane for the emergency closure system. Now the large Lock filling mechanism marks the project with the highest price tag on the list. Future projects involve seismic retrofits and a new screen on the saltwater drain so fish don’t get entrained (stuck) there.
There is more to do but let’s take a minute to celebrate this victory for fish and infrastructure in Puget Sound!
What can you do?
- Help us thank our Congressional leaders, especially Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
- Want to tour the large Locks and filling tunnel? Every year the Army Corps of Engineers empties each Lock at different times and conducts a series of safety checks and tests. They also scrape barnacles from inside the filling tunnel. The public can sign up to join a tour. Sign up here.
- Support LLTK to help advocate for salmon and steelhead in Olympia and Washington DC. Most of our grant funds can’t be used for this sort of effort, so we rely on individual donors to be able to leverage partnerships, meet with elected officials, and be a voice for salmon.
Cover image courtesy of: By Unknown Photographer / US Army Corps of Engineers – , Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=480030
All other images courtesy of Eric Hall, ehall Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ehall/
To raise awareness about high mortality rates for steelhead and salmon in Puget Sound waters, “Survive the Sound” invites students to track juvenile steelhead as they travel to the ocean from their freshwater homes.
Just a few paces from the front entrance to Cascadia Elementary School, dozens of baby salmon dart around in a large, bubbling tank. But for a class of 28 second-graders down the hall, a cartoon juvenile steelhead named “Fishy McFishface” is stealing the show.
For the past week, teacher Gary Bass Jr. has used Fishy — an alias for a real fish that’s been fitted with a surgically implanted tracking device — to teach his students about the obstacle-ridden journey from the river to the ocean that most Puget Sound steelhead die trying to complete.
“Should we check in on our fish?” Bass asked just after the morning bell on a recent school day. The students gave a cheer and scurried to the front of the classroom as Bass pulled up a website on a projection screen.
To the left of a map of Puget Sounds waters, a panel showed a leaderboard with 47 other fish, the migration mascots for the nearly 2,000 classrooms, most of them in Washington, that are participating in “Survive the Sound” this year.
Created by salmon-conservation nonprofit Long Live the Kings, Survive the Sound became a supplement to salmon and steelhead curricula somewhat accidentally. Described as a sort of fantasy football for fish, the initiative started during last year’s steelhead migration.
Image caption: Cascadia Elementary School teacher Gary Bass Jr. answers questions at the end of a lesson about salmon and steelhead migration to the Puget Sound. Bass also works writing and math into his “Survive the Sound” lesson plan.
Predators, disease, pollution, oh my! It’s tough in Puget Sound for steelhead. Fortunately, you can help and have some fun in the process by joining Survive the Sound.
Survive the Sound is an opportunity for everyone to follow the perilous migration of 48 funny looking steelhead smolts. These fish will face all sorts of obstacles along the way, and few will survive. It’s up to you to pick the fish that will make it to the finish line alive. Sponsor more than one fish, invite friends, or build a big team to have a chance at winning the grand prizes!
Beginning May 7th, you will watch your fish in their 12-day migratory race to survive Puget Sound. Each day you’ll be updated on our fish’s progress and learn a little more about the science behind wild salmon and steelhead recovery.
Proceeds help Long Live the Kings restore wild salmon and steelhead, and support free classroom participation.
We need your help! Steelhead have been suffering huge losses on their trek through Puget Sound and are at risk of extinction.
Please call or email your state legislator by February 10, and ask them to support the ‘Recover Puget Sound Steelhead’ request in the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2018 supplemental budget (request details attached). It’s that easy!
Who’s your state legislator? Find out here and make a call for fish!
The legislative session is short, so act by February 10 to make sure your voice is heard!
Not sure what to say? Use this language in your correspondence:
Please support the ‘Recover Puget Sound
Steelhead’ request for$793,000 in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2018 supplemental budget. It is the last of the funding needed to address severe threats to steelhead in our Puget Sound marine environment Problems like contaminants, disease, and predation have already been identified, and researchers are close to providing solutions.
The request is part of the international, collaborative Salish Sea Marine Survival project to determine why young Chinook, coho and steelhead are dying in Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia. Previous appropriations by Washington State totaling $1.6 million have been leveraged by $17 million raised, and equal in-kind support, from the 60 public, private and nonprofit groups affiliated with the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project.