December 4, 2012
Homeowner funds $175,000 culvert project
Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon — a landlocked cousin of sockeye and a species noted for distinctive red coloration — dwindled in recent decades, since before Wally Pereyra moved into a house along Ebright Creek in 1973.
November 6, 2012
Darigold joined the effort in recent weeks to preserve dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery announced Oct. 26.
The downtown Issaquah dairy is donating water from a well to the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer for the hatchery to use in the ongoing effort to restore kokanee. The contribution from Darigold should save the hatchery about $50,000 over the program’s anticipated lifespan through 2021.
Experts said the Darigold water is ideal for kokanee due to consistent quality and temperature. Using the water allows hatchery teams to prevent the fish from imprinting on Issaquah Creek water, and instead allows fry to imprint on Ebright, Laughing Jacobs and Lewis creeks.
October 2, 2012
Before the Ice Age my ancestral sockeye salmon bearing our tribal name, oncorhynchus nerka, regularly came from the ocean to Lake Sammamish to find mates and reproduce in its streams. As it got colder, a huge glacier cut off the escape of the tribe to Puget Sound. Being trapped, we had to adapt to living our entire lives in fresh water.
It was difficult at first, but soon we were feeding on the small daphnia or water fleas living in the lake. Because daphnia are not as big as krill in the ocean, our size got smaller. Our tribe enjoyed less swimming distance for a lifecycle and we were glad not to be eaten by big salt-water fish and seals. We became land-locked in the lake and its streams. We adapted and survived.
We did retain some traditions of our sea-run ancestors, such as only living three to five years, turning red to spawn, running up streams to lay and fertilize our eggs, and dying afterward. Our short life spans allowed us to make rapid genetic changes in response to climate changes and food availability.
September 25, 2012
Oncorhynchus nerka, our kokanee salmon in Lake Sammamish, is a threatened native species with greatly reduced numbers spawning in streams feeding the lake.
Most of their historical spawning areas are now denied by barriers or degraded as a result of land development.
Until recently, Lake Sammamish kokanee have not been included with other salmon species in conservation measures and have been low in profile for public concern.
For the past several years, an effort of the environmentally concerned and governmental communities adjacent to Lake Sammamish have participated in defining the problem, setting goals and taking action to address the threatened loss of the kokanee.
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.
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.”
April 10, 2012
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.
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.
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.
October 4, 2011
Population is in decline, but local stock is not ‘distinct’ from other kokanee
Federal officials decided dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon do not qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act, prompting a chorus of disapproval from local officials.
The species’ decline concerned U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials, but did not merit the fish being listed under the act. The agency announced the decision Oct. 3.
The once-abundant kokanee declined in recent decades, perhaps due to construction near creeks, increased predators, disease or changes in water quality.
In recent years, the number of salmon in the late-fall and early-winter run has dwindled to fewer than 1,000 in some seasons. Kokanee return to only a handful of creeks — Ebright, Laughing Jacobs and Lewis — to spawn. Scientists estimated the total 2010 run at 58 fish, including the 40 kokanee spawned at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery in a last-ditch effort to save the species.
The decision came after the agency spent four years to review the Lake Sammamish stock’s health.