November 15, 1999
DUVALL--Helping to save salmon habitat can be as simple as where you wash your car.
Fish experts say residents can help restore salmon runs by washing their cars at car washes or on the lawn so the soap doesn't run into streams or storm drains, by limiting fertilizer and pesticide use, "going native" (planting native plants that don't need fertilizer or much water), recycling motor oil, fixing oil leaks, or becoming involved in habitat restoration.
Those little efforts will make a big difference in whether or not salmon will continue to be a part of our lives, fish experts said recently at an information night at Cedarcrest High School. The Nov. 4 meeting was sponsored by Friends of Cherry Valley, a group fighting to prevent the development of a rock quarry near Cherry Creek.
"Salmon are not only part of our culture," said Chris Hughes, from King County Water and Land Resources. "They are also an indicator species that can tell us a lot about how the entire area is doing."
Recently two local fish have been placed on the "threatened species" list, Hughes said. In March, chinook salmon were listed, and just two weeks ago, bull trout were put on the list to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Hughes listed habitat deterioration, the detrimental effects of hatcheries, fish harvest, and hydropower as the reasons why fish runs are in so much trouble. He said although residents can't do too much on a daily basis about the last three items, they can help put the brakes on habitat deterioration.
Besides taking steps to prevent material from entering streams, volunteers can also help with tree planting along streambeds. Cherry Creek is one of many area streams scheduled for tree planting.
Kirk Anderson, Snoqualmie Basin Steward with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said that Cherry Creek is the home of chinook, pink, chum, and coho salmon and cutthroat trout, and that 140 coho were counted in Trib 0247 near Kelly Road.
"If you know someone who lives near there, you should relay those findings to them," he said. "Juveniles grow in those watershed ponds and we need to protect those areas. Things such as installing culverts too high can affect the ability of these fish to move."
Anderson noted that Washington Trout, based on Main Street in Duvall, is an excellent source of information.
A Cherry Creek Tributary Planting is set for this Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is invited to help plant native trees and shrubs along this tributary to keep water temperatures cool and control runoff from neighboring fields. The group will meet at Cherry Valley Elementary School on Cherry Valley Road just north of Duvall. A shuttle will take people to the planting site.
Light refreshments will be provided. Bring work gloves, but King County will provide tools and gloves for those without. Those who wish to attend need to call Bob Spencer at 206-296-1951. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Other steps residents can take to keep streams healthy are listed in brochures available from King County Department of Natural Resources.