Hatchery eyes new aquarium exhibit

July 16, 2013

By Peter Clark

Volunteer organization Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery looks to replace an exhibit aquarium and is holding a fundraising meeting July 26.

In the public entryway to the hatchery, an aquarium gave an underwater view of the spawned salmon. After the old aquarium sat on display for more than 10 years, the hard-working docents who give their time to educate the community determined that it would be better for hatchery tours if the tank were replaced.

“It was just a real chore to keep the aquarium clean,” FISH Executive Director Jane Keuchle said. “Volunteers discovered that the whole thing needs to go. Then, they got this idea to make it like Issaquah Creek.”

In exploring options for the aquarium’s replacement, Keuchle said the organization found a more realistic display that would exhibit the habitat of the young fry development. After the installation, fertilized eggs will even be put into gravel in full view of the public.

“This will just give people a better look about what Issaquah Creek and natural salmon really look like,” Keuchle said. “We’re really excited about it.”

FISH Educator and Volunteer Tour Guide Tracy Meloy made an extensive case for a new aquarium, and showed what an impact it could have on educational tours.

“The aquarium is an effective teaching tool because it provides the opportunity for FISH tour guides to explain the salmon life cycle while highlighting the stages of egg development — alevin, fry and fingerling — at various times throughout the year,” Meloy said. “An upgraded aquarium means guides will not only be able to verbalize the salmon life cycle, but it also means this can be done while pointing out the features of a healthy salmon habitat.”

To launch fundraising for the project, FISH will host a meeting at 6 p.m. July 26 in the hatchery that is open to the public. There, Keuchle said city Surface Water Manager Kerry Ritland would give an update about the dam renovation, and information would be shared about the need for a new aquarium.

On the whole, the project is expected to cost about $20,000. Keuchle said that they already have startup money from FISH’s board, but would really appreciate the community’s assistance.

“We’re certainly looking for large gifts from companies, but we know that a lot of people know this hatchery, love this hatchery and may want to get involved,” she said. “Five dollars, $15, $100, $500, really anything would be helpful.”

Keuchle said that the group hopes to have the new aquarium installed by the beginning of the school year, so it can be included in the annual tours FISH gives to school children.

“We really have to have it done by the time we’re ready to spawn fish,” she said.



If you go

FISH aquarium fundraiser

  • 125 W. Sunset Way
  • 6 p.m. July 26
  • Donate at www.issaquahfish.org/get-involved.
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