With a drenching series of rainstorms headed our way, we released our chinook salmon in Hess Creek today on a chilly morning, but under fair skies. Even though our fish were not quite at the fry stage (still have partial egg sacs), they seemed to adapt to their new environment quite well. Perhaps in 3-4 years, a few of these salmonids will return to Hess Creek as adult salmon ready to spawn for future generations. We’ll raise and release another batch of salmon in the fall of 2021. Next year, our focus will be to raise rainbow trout and release in another waterway.
Click this link to view our fish last week while still in the incubators. You will need a Facebook account to view the video clip.
Last week we bid farewell to the chinook salmon we have been raising in our classrooms since late October. We had hoped to have our students participate in releasing all of our fish in Chehalem Creek where we conducted our outdoor school project. It was very muddy there from the previous week’s rains, so we changed our game plan a bit. Mrs. Willcuts and Mr. Evers released one-third of the fish in Chehalem Creek, and we had our students release the remaining two-thirds in the Willamette River at Roger’s Landing. As Ewing Young Park develops, we hope to have greater access to the creek during the winter months for projects, and perhaps our students can be a part of that process.
We had a very successful hatching and raising experience this year as a large percentage of our 1,000 eggs survived to the fry stage. As many of you know the recent flooding threw a curveball into our Willamette River release day plans and ultimately we had to cancel the classroom trip. While it was disappointing to all, our students were good sports as we explained that sometimes nature presents situations out of our control and we have to roll with it. Since we did not have access to any safe site on the Willamette, our biologist at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife gave us permission to release our fish in nearby Chehalem Creek. Thanks to the Garstkas for allowing us to park in your driveway and providing safe access to the creek for release. While it was unceremonious in pouring rain today, Mrs. Reed, Mr. Milner, and Mr. Evers made sure the salmon made it safely in their new home. Who knows, maybe in four years a few salmon will make their way back up the Chehalem!
Our little red eggs have now grown to the fry stage, and they are eagerly anticipating release day next week. They are also quite grateful that release day was not this week during all the extreme flooding.
Our salmon are entering the fry stage and are practicing their swimming skills. They are getting their fins in shape for release in the Willamette River in the next few weeks. Take a look at their progress in this video clip!
Our alevin friends have grown a bit since the last video clip. All along, we have been learning about salmon survival rates, external features, and life cycles. Students have started research about salmon species will be writing reports after Thanksgiving break. In December we have some exciting plans regarding learning about stream surveys and stream engineering as well as releasing our finned friends.
All of our eggs have hatched in both of our incubators. Our students have noticed that the alevins behave differently between both incubators as one has more gravel spread out than the other.