Catching a legacy as Issaquah Salmon Hatchery turns 75

April 24, 2012

Vicki Hahn (above, left), FISH master docent, uses hatchery sculptures Gillda and Finley to explain how salmon spawn for Lika Clark, 9, her brother Peter Ginter, 13, and their mother Jessica Ginter. By Greg Farrar

The humble buildings along a downtown street and the simple bridge across Issaquah Creek do not call out for attention, but the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is iconic nonetheless — so iconic, the hatchery and the salmon raised in manmade ponds serve as symbols for Issaquah and the region.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire congratulates Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

April 24, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire congratulated city and environmental leaders as the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery celebrated 75 years.

Gov. Chris Gregoire

“Fish hatcheries across the state play a critical role in preserving our native salmon stocks and protecting both environmental health and recreation,” she said in response to questions from The Issaquah Press. “For the past 75 years, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery — the only state hatchery in a major metropolitan area — has been providing fish for commercial and recreational fisheries. The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery also plays an active role in the recovery of wild salmon stocks. In recent years, the hatchery has become the site of a significant effort to restore Lake Sammamish kokanee, which have seen a dramatic decline in recent years.

“The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery’s role as an educational center may be its most lasting contribution to the region and the state as a whole. Each year, approximately 350,000 visitors — many of them students — tour the facility and learn about this important resource and salmon’s role in our state’s history. That hands-on learning has informed and inspired generations of Washingtonians, and people from around the world, about the benefits of maintaining healthy salmon populations.

“I congratulate the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on this milestone and thank the community for supporting it over the years.”

FISH invites public to catch Issaquah Salmon Hatchery’s 75th anniversary

April 17, 2012

The iconic Issaquah Salmon Hatchery opened along Issaquah Creek 75 years ago and, in the decades since, developed into a symbol for the community and a lifeline for fish species.

The anniversary celebration is due to start April 22, Earth Day, as the nonprofit organization Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery hosts a public open house. The daylong celebration launches a series of events to mark the milestone.

“The hatchery brought back the salmon to Issaquah,” FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle said.

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Press Editorial

April 17, 2012

Give a nod to planet Earth

Arbor Day is April 21, followed by Earth Day on April 22. Both are an equal opportunity to show appreciation for the third rock from the sun.

The city Parks & Recreation Department will plant 150 trees along Issaquah Creek on Saturday in honor of Arbor Day. Just last week, the city earned Tree City USA status for the 19th year.

Earth Day gets a jumpstart in Issaquah on Thursday when Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon fry are released into Laughing Jacobs Creek. Public tours are available this weekend to see what happens to unrecycled garbage at the Cedar Hills Landfill in south Issaquah. Also south of the city limits, volunteers will mulch and weed the Log Cabin Natural Area along Issaquah Creek. Volunteers will do back-country trail work on Cougar Mountain.

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King County hosts events to celebrate Earth Day

April 15, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. April 15, 2012

King County starts countywide Earth Day celebration in Issaquah on Thursday, as conservationists gather to release Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon fry into Laughing Jacobs Creek.

The county is also opening the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Issaquah to public tours.

Other Earth Day events entice residents to participate in environmental activities or adopt a “green” lifestyle habit.

“Small choices can add up to big changes,” County Executive Dow Constantine said. “The future is in our hands — please join me in keeping King County green. With these steps, it’s easy.”

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Lake Sammamish kokanee fry release starts Earth Day celebration

April 10, 2012

Jessica Leguizamon watches kokanee salmon fry swim away from her Dixie cup into Laughing Jacobs Creek as her sister Sabrina waits her turn and their grandfather Gary Smith looks on during the 2011 release. County environmental scientist Hans Berge makes sure the procedure is done properly. By Greg Farrar

Conservationists plodded along rain-soaked creek banks last autumn to collect mature Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon in a soggy slog and pluck fish from a handful of streams to preserve the fading species.

The groups responsible for the salmon run restoration effort plan to return to Laughing Jacobs Creek on April 19 to release minuscule fry — a sign of success for the local, county, state and federal agencies entwined in the preservation program.

The annual kokanee fry release celebrates the ongoing push to restore the declining kokanee population in Lake Sammamish and launches Earth Day observances in the area. The community is invited to participate and learn about the salmon species — a landlocked cousin of sockeye — and the preservation program.

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Kokanee fundraiser nets almost $10,000 for preservation

April 3, 2012

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon supporters raised almost $10,000 last month to protect the disappearing fish species.

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and Coho Café organized a March 16 fundraiser to net dollars for a kokanee restoration program.

The sold-out event raised funds from ticket sales for a reception at the Watershed Science Center on the hatchery grounds and a silent wine auction benefit.

Matt Baerwalde, a Snoqualmie Nation representative, presented a $5,000 check to FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle for the kokanee spawning program.

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Fundraiser to aid dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee

March 13, 2012

The message from groups toiling to save a fish species from extinction is simple and stark: SOS, for Save Our Salmon.

Kokanee S.O.S. is a planned fundraiser organized by Coho Café and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery to aid the diminishing Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon population. The restaurant and the nonprofit organization are planning a March 23 fundraiser to benefit kokanee restoration efforts.

“This possible extinction is literally happening right in our own backyard and if a community as educated and affluent as King County cannot turn this critical situation around, then I’m not sure there is hope for any people to protect a dwindling and important resource,” said Heather VanDorn, Coho Café Catering manager.

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Lend a fin to kokanee at local fundraiser

March 6, 2012

Coho Café Catering and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery plan to help a salmon species in decline.

The organizations planned Kokanee S.O.S. — for “save our salmon” — a fundraiser at the Issaquah restaurant to raise dollars for Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon preservation. The species is dwindling, but the federal government declined last year to list the fish as endangered.

The fundraiser is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 23. Purchase tickets at Coho Café, 6130 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Suite A, or by calling 391-4040.

Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit a long-term effort to restore the salmon species. The effort brings together U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and FISH to collect and spawn kokanee.

What 10 qualities set Issaquah residents apart?

February 21, 2012

Issaquah inspires a deep affection among residents past and present.

Perhaps the connection is because the city stands out among cookie-cutter Eastside suburbs. (Bummer, Redmond.)

Residents can rattle off at least a dozen reasons to love Issaquah, although even outsiders can recognize the charms. Only locals can offer a snapshot into the authentic Issaquah experience.

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