FISH lures public to annual meeting

October 30, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery volunteers and hatchery crews spawned 996 chinook in the past month, as the autumn salmon run transformed the hatchery into a hub of activity.

Now, residents can learn more about the salmon conservation efforts spearheaded by FISH at the nonprofit organization’s annual meeting next month.

The lineup for the Nov. 8 event includes “Watershed Report,” a video collection chronicling sustainability trends in cities throughout the Lake Washington-Cedar-Sammamish Watershed. The nonprofit Friends of the Cedar River Watershed created the project.

If you go

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery annual meeting

  • 7 p.m. Nov. 8
  • Watershed Science Center, 125 W. Sunset Way

By the numbers

The chinook run in Issaquah Creek is done. Issaquah Salmon Hatchery crews and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery members spawned chinook starting Sept. 25.

Chinook

  • 4,500 — chinook trapped
  • 2.2 million — chinook eggs collected
  • 1,000 adult — chinook allowed upstream to spawn

Coho

Hatchery crews and volunteers started spawning coho salmon Oct. 30.

  • 4,000 — coho trapped
  • 200 — coho allowed upstream to spawn

Source: Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

The collection is narrated by area high school students, and the professionally produced series is updated each year to measure progress and share current information about policies and practices to improve the watershed.

Students involved in the program plan to present videos at the FISH meeting and lead a discussion about how members can support the next update on salmon recovery.

The leadership team at Friends of the Cedar River Watershed is expanding the organization’s geographical base include the entire Lake Washington-Cedar-Sammamish Watershed, including Issaquah.

FISH members also plan to elect board members at the meeting, and Executive Director Jane Kuechle is due to deliver a report about the organization.

The event comes after a successful Salmon Days Festival held in part on hatchery grounds and a monthslong celebration to commemorate the hatchery’s 75th anniversary.

Conservationists and longtime Issaquah residents credit the hatchery for restoring the historic Issaquah Creek salmon runs after decades of logging and mining damaged the creek and surrounding watershed.

Issaquah leaders and residents formed FISH in the early 1990s as state officials eyed the Department of Fish and Wildlife-run hatchery for closure.

Former Issaquah Mayor Rowan Hinds formulated the acronym for the organization en route to Olympia to lobby officials to preserve the hatchery.

The nonprofit organization is dedicated to the preservation of the historic hatchery. Through educational programs in school classrooms and at the hatchery, FISH educates the community about the salmon lifecycle and inspires stewardship of the Puget Sound watershed.

FISH also salvaged the Salmon in the Classroom program for schools in the Issaquah School District after the state scuttled funding for the program amid 2010 budget cuts.

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