Foster Creek Conservation District
Foster Creek Conservation District

Salmon in the Classroom

If you are a Douglas County school teacher and you are interested in hosting a salmon tank for the 2018-19 school year, contact Elizabeth at 509-888-6372.

Chinook salmon are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater, migrate to the ocean, and return as mature adults to their natal streams to spawn.  The release of these Chinook fry is just the beginning of their journey and the start of many obstacles that they will face.  If they survive into adulthood, they will return to the upper Columbia River to spawn. 

 

FUN FACT:  Steelhead are the only salmon that are iteroparous, meaning a percentage of them can survive after spawning.  These incredible salmon are referred to as "kelts".  

Tank set-up at Mansfield School - insulated to keep it cool!
Eyed Chinook salmon eggs

With the help of the Douglas County PUD and Trout Unlimited, FCCD has brought Salmon in the Classroom to Mansfield and Waterville Schools. In early January 2018, we delivered 250 Chinook salmon eggs to each 55 gallon tank. Participating teachers and students will hatch, raise, feed and release the salmon this year.

 

Chinook alevin
Chinook alevin

Salmon in the classroom was a success with both Mansfield and Waterville schools releasing 258 Chinook fry into the Columbia River in late April 2018.

 

This project allows students to receive hands-on lessons about the salmon life cycle and the importance of good water quality.  

 

Students measure and record the water temperature of the transportation buckets and the Columbia River.  Allowing the salmon to acclimate to the river water temperatures will increase their chance of survival by decreasing the shock of the cooler water to their system.  Think of jumping into Lake Chelan in May - brrr, that's cold!

 

Students wait their turn to scoop a cupful of fry to release simultaneously into the river.  Strength in numbers help these young salmon survive when faced against predators, such as, the Northern pikeminnow, piscivorous birds, and other larger salmon. 

 

After the release, both schools experienced a tour at the Rocky Reach Discovery Center to learn about fish health, water quality, and hydroelectric dams along the Columbia River.  

 

Pictured: Lupe Peterson, Chelan PUD, explains the fish bypass system installed at Rocky Reach Dam. 

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Foster Creek Conservation District 203 S Rainier Waterville, WA 98858 509-888-6372 © Foster Creek CD