Our Latest News
Greetings, FISH friends! Today we present our spring fish release numbers — plus important information on a chinook study being launched by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to try to better understand and combat fish predation on our outgoing salmon smolt. It’s a really important issue, and let’s hope this study brings the results we need. Read on…
- 6,500 planted in Beaver Lake
- 8,500 planted in Lake Desire
- 900,000 released in Issaquah Creek
- 465,000 released in Issaquah Creek
PIT TAG STUDY:
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is running a study this spring, putting PIT tags into chinook smolt and releasing them over a range of time. The study will test the theory that if they are released early, when the lake water is cold, those warm-water fish that account for a great deal of the predation our smolt face have not fully woken up, and more of the smolts will make it across the lake. The PIT tags will be detected in several locations, including their passage through Chittenden Locks to Puget Sound, allowing the WDFW to better understand the predation issues with these young fish and to put into place better practices for the survival of our own salmon. A total of 5,000 tagged fish are planned to be released over the course of the spring releases. The study was made possible through a generous grant from the Candy & Don Havens Foundation
Working to better understand and protect salmon with fin clipping:
This year, the hatchery is hosting two marking trailers, one manual and one automated. The manual unit is processing approximately 35,000 salmon fingerlings per day, while the automated unit can process 140,000 per day!
About fin clipping… Clipping is a common practice conducted at most Washington salmon hatcheries to aid in fish identification. The adipose fin (between the dorsal and tail fins) is harmlessly removed. When the salmon return, they can be recognized as hatchery or wild origin, allowing us a better understanding of salmon populations over the years. It also helps us preserve wild salmon, as sport fishers are only allowed to take hatchery-origin fish.
In early February, following heavy rainfall, we experienced a record flow in Issaquah Creek of 2,400 cubic feet per second which resulted in:
- Flood waters inundating the hatchery, and
- Piles of silt on the hatchery grounds, resulting in a huge cleanup problem.
Hatchery production remained safe but we came within 4 inches of floodwaters overtopping the raceways. Moreover, it was not good news for the naturally spawning coho, chinook, and, especially, native kokanee, who were most likely lost downstream.
Thanks to the heroic efforts of Washington Department of Fish and Game staff and FISH volunteers, however, the hatchery has recovered and our fish charges are safe. We are grateful to everyone who pitched in and are once again humbled by what nature can bring.
We’ve had an incredible year and are so thankful for all of the wonderful volunteers who made it possible. Check out these 2019 statistics:
Individuals reached by FISH volunteers and staff:
- FISHop visitors – 3.421
- Super Salmon Sleuths – 80
- FISH Presents – 232
- School presentations – 3,426
- School science fairs – 2,704
- Spring/summer tours – 444
- Weekend scheduled tours – 204
- Outreach events – 888
- Salmon Days – 15,000
- Fall weekday tours – 10,988
- VOLUNTEER HOURS – 3,673 — Wow!!!
It is said that all good things must come to an end. Such is our time with Kris “Pepper” Hambrick, our Program Coordinator, who has developed curriculum and taught classes and summer camp for the past three seasons. She is moving on to her next adventure. From the beginning, Pepper brought a spark of enthusiasm and energy. She taught us about questioning, learning and presenting styles – how to look through different lenses. Not from the “fishy” world, Pepper has brought her intelligence and inquisitive nature to the Issaquah Hatchery. In good weather, we would find her enjoying lunch outside by the stream, doing hatchery historical research, reading the latest salmon book or article and, in turn, sharing the new information with us. She integrated that breadth of knowledge, and excitement, into her classroom visits and presentations. She will be missed! We will be following her as she boldly goes where no one has gone before. Second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning!
Best of luck Pepper!
Your FISH friends
King County has funded a new study to examine how wastewater pollutants from the county impact salmon and orcas. Pollutants from our roads and drains end up in stormwater runoff — and now scientists are looking for more information on how these pollutants impact juvenile salmon. Read more about the research HERE.
A plan to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta jeopardizes already endangered salmon populations. NOAA Fisheries biologists and environmental groups are fighting to protect the water source and the fish who call the threatened delta home. Learn more HERE.
- A Second Transfer of Kokanee to Orcas Island!
- Hatchery Spring Release Report
- What’s happening at the Hatchery: Fin Clipping
- What’s Happening at the Hatchery: Flood Report
- What’s Happening at the Hatchery: Annual Report and Farewell, Pepper!
- New Study Examines Wastewater Effects on Orcas, Salmon
- Kokanee Release!
- California Water Diversion Threatens Juvenile Salmon
- A Coho and Chinook Hybrid Found Off the Coast of B.C.
- Orca Task Force Adds 13 New Recommendations