The salmon are headed home – and King County needs volunteers to count returning fish. Many Pacific salmon species have begun the final stretch of their remarkable migration from the open ocean back to the King County rivers and streams of their birth, where they will spawn then die as their offspring begin life in the gravel below.
King County and partnering jurisdictions are looking for volunteer “salmon watchers” to keep an eye out for fish at streams throughout the Lake Washington watershed. Salmon watchers spend about 15 minutes twice a week at a designated site along a stream and look for returning salmon during the fall.
This volunteer work of monitoring salmon migration and spawning activities is an important part of fisheries management. The data collected are used by agencies and groups working to help restore weak salmon runs and improve habitat for all fish and wildlife.
You can become a salmon watcher by attending one of four, free classroom trainings to learn how to identify the salmon that spawn in King County streams. Training is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 22, at Woodinville City Hall from 7-9 p.m. Those interested in volunteering should arrive a few minutes early to sign in.
Salmon watchers can choose a place to watch from among hundreds of established sites, or King County will create a new salmon-watching site that is convenient to work or home. No experience is necessary, although past volunteers are always welcome.