Sealaska Day Campers earn our thanks… again!

Youth cleaning debri from pipe; RamonteStanmore, 7-27-16

Sealaska youth help remove debris from the Venema Creek water supply line at Carkeek park in the summer of 2016; photo by Ramonte Stanmore, 7/27/16

Because of a job well done last year by a group of 14 middle and high school summer day campers, a possible disaster was narrowly averted this week.

Last year at the end of July 2016, a group of 14 middle and high school summer day campers from a partnership between Sealaska and the University of Washington helped out with important maintenance work on the Salmon Imprint System.  They removed debris around some 200 feet of intake pipe that supplies oxygen-rich creek water to salmon fry.  This is important work because the creek water supply pipe needs to remain visible at all times for regular inspection.  Any leakage can lead to reduced water flow to the regular crowd of 35,000 salmon fry and deprive them of oxygen.

Due to this job well done, CWCAP staff easily noticed a section of pipe on Jan 25, 2017 along the forested creek upstream of the Salmon Imprint System that had developed a potentially catastrophic leak (see photos below).  A temporary patch was applied and repair planning began.

Within a day of spotting the leak in a relatively obscure, forested area, CWCAP staff made repairs and the proper water flow was restored to many thousands of salmon fry destined to be released into Venema Creek sometime in March.

Thank you Priya Pugh at the UW and all of the great youth that ended up saving the day.  We hope the Sealaska and UW partnership continues and more youth can enjoy opportunities in our Carkeek Park outdoor classrooms.


Before: leak found along the length of the Venema Creek water supply line for the Salmon Imprint System; Jan 25, 2017


After: thanks to the work done the previous summer by Sealaska youth, improved visibility provided easy inspection and a quick fix to a potentially disastrous leak; Jan 26, 2017

2017 salmon imprinting starts with 30,216 eyed salmon eggs!

Salmon, Matt, Priya, and Bonnie; Jan 5, 2017

A CWCAP crew of Rick, David, Matt, Priya, and Bonnie brought back 30,216 eyed salmon eggs from Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery. Eggs are being distributed on trays that will be placed into Egg incubators; Jan 5, 2017

Every Spring CWCAP receives salmon eggs and salmon fry from the Suquamish Tribe’s Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery.

The Les Malmgren Imprint Pond has two types of tanks, one type is for incubating eggs and another is for imprinting salmon fry.  We now have 30,216 eyed salmon eggs in the Egg incubator/Self-release tanks.

Eyed eggs are fertilized salmon eggs that have developed to the stage where a black dot representing the eye and the early nervous system is easily visible.  At this stage, the very early gyrating movements can can also be easily seen within the egg shell.

On trays, the eggs will eventually hatch and drop through the tray mesh to the bottom of the incubator tank where they will “relax” as alevin, the stage in which they feed from their largish egg/yolk sac.

Below is a short clip by Matt Kuhar, long time CWCAP member, taken on Jan 10, ’17 —just 5 days after the photo above!

Below is another short clip by Matt Kuhar, taken on Jan 15, ’17 —just 10 days after the photo above!

At some time in about 70-90 days after fertilization, the fish will have consumed all of their egg/yolk sac, rise in the water column, and prepare to search for food.  As they fuse the seam where the egg/yolk sac was (termed buttoning up), they will eventually rise to the top of the tank and be caught in the water current exiting the self-release pipe where they will be shunted directly into Venema Creek.

Chum-salmon_hatchery-life-stage_labeledCWCAP Imprint Stewards don’t need to feed this batch of fish since they will have spent their time at the Imprint Pond feeding off their egg/yolk sacs before self-releasing into the creek.  These fish will spend from a few days to a week or so moving from Venema to Piper’s Creek where an optimum tide will help them move to the eel grass off of Carkeek Beach.

Next: CWCAP will receive 35,000 salmon fry towards the end of January.  Those approximately 1 to 1.5 inch fish will be placed in the 900 gallon Imprint Pond where they will be fed and imprinted 3 times per day for at least a month.  This is when we’ll place Salmon Feeding signs out so park visitors can visit, learn about the salmon life cycle, and of course help feed the fish!