The Chum are here!

Dead chum salmon 10/28/2020

We spotted Chum in Piper’s Creek in the last two days. There were three in the culvert under the railroad tracks today, 10/29 and one more about 1350 feet up stream. We also found three dead, partly eaten chum yesterday, 10/28.

These sightings are in addition to the two coho spotted on 10/15 and the sea-run cutthroat trout spotted at the confluence of Piper’s and Venema creeks on 10/23. Hopefully we will see the numbers increase with the rains expected in the next week or so.

Photo is of one of the chum found on 10/28. Humans and bears are not the only ones that enjoy eating salmon. The coyotes, otters and raccoons in Carkeek Park also enjoy eating salmon.

The Imprint Pond is Open!

We have 22,400 fry in the main imprint pond and 3,200 “Salmon in the Schools Seattle” (SISS) fry in the small pond. And we are operating as usual, relatively. Volunteers are feeding the fry three times a day, morning, midday and later afternoon to evening, seven days a week. We do not set exact times that our volunteers must be at the pond. We ask volunteers to perform there 45-60 minute shift between the following times – 7am – 9am, 11am – 1pm, and 4pm – 7pm. While the volunteers are feeding the salmon, you are welcome to come watch and ask questions. Look for the sign on Carkeek Park Drive where the access road leads to the imprint pond.

For practical hygiene reasons, we are not allowing visitors to feed the fry. We are also asking that visitors limit the number of people inside the compound at any given time. So if you come to the pond and see there are also people within the fenced compound, please wait for them to leave before entering so that we can maintain reasonable “social distancing.” Our decisions are based on the recommendations coming from Public Health Seattle King County and a recognition that being outside in the open air is safer and healthier than being in a closed environment, with reasonable precautions.

Here’s what has happened this season so far. We picked up 10,000 eggs from the Suquamish Tribes Grover Creek Hatchery on January 13th. Those eggs went into our self-release egg tank. We estimate approximately 8,200 of the eggs hatched, grew to fry and entered Venema Creek.

The hatchery delivered 22,000 newly buttoned-up fry on February 28th. The fry are eating well and growing fast. Our intention is to keep these fry until early May.

Our SISS partners also picked up fry for the Salmon in the Schools Program tanks. SISS is a collaboration of Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks, Fauntleroy Watershed Council and CWCAP.  The program supports tanks in about 70 schools. throughout Seattle. With schools suddenly closing in response to COVID 19 many teachers, would not be able to care for the tanks including the schools raising chum to release into Piper’s Creek. In an emergency situation, we received 3,610 fry from 18 Salmon in the School tanks on Wednesday, March 11th. We received the call at noon that Seattle Public Schools were closing at 8:30pm and that we needed to get all of the SIS fry out of the tanks and into the pond. Teachers and their volunteers, with the help of CWCAP volunteers and Seattle Public Utilities,  managed to get all of the chum fry destined for our imprint pond safely transferred. We hope to keep these fry until the mid to late May, transferring them to the big imprint pond after the early May release.

So to reiterate, we are open. Keep an eye out for our “Feeding Salmon Fry” sign when visiting Carkeek Park. We are not allowing the public to feed the fry, but you are welcome to watch. Just remember to give everyone space and wait if there are more than a couple of people in the compound.

Please see the following two links for guidelines from Public Health – Seattle & King County:

https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/disease-control/novel-coronavirus/schools/closures.aspx

https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/disease-control/novel-coronavirus/events.aspx

Thank You,

Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project