Volunteers sought to survey chum salmon in Chimacum Creek

A free training session is set for Thursday, Aug. 18 in Port Townsend

CHIMACUM — The North Olympic Salmon Coalition is seeking volunteers to survey chum salmon in Chimacum Creek beginning Tuesday, Aug. 23 and continuing to the end of October.

Volunteers are invited to attend a free training from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Aug. 18 in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife conference room at 375 Hudson St. in Port Townsend.

RSVP is required because space is limited.

Volunteers are needed to walk up the lower sections of the creek counting alive and dead fish, as well as taking samples from carcasses of salmon which have already spawned.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife uses data collected by Salmon Coalition volunteers to estimate the size of the run, which is now about 3,000 adult salmon returning to spawn each year.

Volunteers will meet Tuesday mornings for three to four hours. The Salmon Coalition will supply gear and survey equipment.

No prior experience is needed, but surveys can be physically challenging, Bishop said.

Surveyors should be able to walk over slick, uneven terrain, and have a willingness to support the Salmon Coalition’s mission to protect wild salmon and their habitat.

Hood Canal summer chum were totally wiped out from Chimacum Creek in the 1990s, according to Emily Bishop, AmeriCorps education and outreach assistant with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition.

The species was listed as threatened in the eastern Strait of Juan De Fuca under the Endangered Species Act in 1999.

They were reintroduced to Chimacum Creek between 1996 and 2004 using hatchery stock.

“Now we see 100 percent wild salmon returning to the creek to spawn,” Bishop said.

“It’s incredible to see that, with the help of local partners acquiring key habitat parcels, and landowners and farmers supporting projects that benefit spawning habitat and water quality, nature has taken back control over this population and we no longer need to supplement with hatchery stock to ensure its survival.”

“Interacting with wild salmon in a creek is an electrifying experience,” Bishop added. “We love being able to provide this opportunity to our volunteers.”

To RSVP for the training session go online at www.nosc.org or contact Bishop at volunteer@nosc.org or 379-8051.

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