Salmon are in the park!

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As of this writing (11-28-17) , there are fewer live fish than dead fish in the creeks.  Most of the viewing areas along Piper’s Creek have salmon to observe in shallow clear waters (when it’s not raining a lot).  Don’t forget that there is a population of year-round, resident Cutthroat trout in Piper’s Creek and its main tributaries, Venema & Mohlendorph Creeks.  You may also see some smaller Coho salmon in Piper’s Creek that have strayed into these waters.

With each rain event, storm water flushes the scent of the watershed out into Puget Sound.  The resulting plume of water in the Sound and favorable high tides invite more Chum salmon back into their home waters to spawn.  Now until the end of November is the best time to see salmon in Carkeek Park with salmon still in the creeks in early December.  How many Chum salmon usually return every fall?  Here are the numbers for the last 3 years: Salmon return numbers

Here’s what you might find if you visit Carkeek Park in the month of November:

Salmon Spawning Survey; 11-12-16Salmon Spawning (Survey past event):  Each Fall, Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project (CWCAP) enters the creeks and tributaries in the Pipers Creek Watershed to collect spawning data from the salmon that naturally die after returning to the system. The primary objective is to determine the relative spawning success of salmon in Piper’s Creek and its largest tributary, Venema Creek. Spawning success over time is one measure of the health of the salmon run and the health of the creeks.  Each Saturday beginning in late October to early November until the end of the salmon run (1st or 2nd week of December) you will see CWCAP investigators collecting data from deceased salmon.  Data is compiled and submitted to local agencies to help understand the status of salmon in our urban creeks.  Say hello when you’re at the park on Saturdays this fall.  We’ll be there between 10am and early-to-mid afternoon.

SPU's Salmon Stewards Program

Carkeek Park Salmon Stewards (past event)Carkeek Park Salmon Stewards is brought to you by Carkeek Park’s great friends at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).  This program is a community of local volunteers trained to welcome, engage, educate, and inspire park visitors drawn by the annual Piper’s Creek salmon run. They can be found in Carkeek Park on weekends (Saturdays & Sundays) 11am – 2pm, Nov 4 – Dec 3, 2017.  Look for blue-vested stewards.  They’ll know where the fish are, how many there are, and a lot about how there came to be a spawning population of Chum salmon in Piper’s Creek Watershed.  Be sure to bring your family and friends.  They’ll want to see this!  The Salmon Stewards Program is brought to you by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).

Salmon Celebration (past event)Welcome Home The Salmon on Sunday, Nov 19, 2017 (11 AM – 2 PM).  Salmon Celebration in hosted by SPU‘s Carkeek Park Salmon Stewards.  All ages are invited to Carkeek Park for activities to. Celebrate with hot drinks, music, good food, and a kid-friendly scavenger hunt through the park. Volunteer Salmon Stewards will be on hand to show you where the fish are and a lot about their life cycle, habitat, and how well they are doing in this amazing Seattle urban creek. Look inside a salmon! You know how a fish swims (well, do you?), but do you know how it eats, breaths, and reproduces?  We’ll observe a fish dissection to discover swimming, eating, breathing, and reproducing systems that you can touch (if you want to)!

Salmon Search means salmon dissection!Salmon Search (past event): The Salmon Search Program is brought to you by the city’s great friends at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) in cooperation with Seattle Public Schools, and Salmon in the Schools – Seattle.  Each Fall as many as 2 dozen public and private schools take field trips to Carkeek Park to kick off the beginning of their Salmon in the Schools season.  In preparation for receiving 200-250 salmon eggs in January, these elementary students, teachers, and chaperones meet with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Salmon Naturalists to explore Piper’s Creek and observe returning adult salmon.  They explore the salmon life cycle, habitat needs, and spawning behavior.  Students will also observe a real salmon dissection in order to discover swimming, eating, breathing, and reproducing systems.  Students also participate in a dynamic salmon ecosystem simulation, a game that takes the students through the many habitats encountered by salmon and the natural and man-made obstacles to salmon survival.  This year’s program runs from Oct 25 to Nov 28, 2017. 

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