By Steve Seville
Recently I joined Joy Lee and Rick Endicott of Long Live the Kings (LLTK) to release adult steelhead in the North Fork Skokomish River on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. LLTK operates a hatchery that rears collected wild salmon eggs, ensuring a certain number of the wild genetic stock reaches maturity for release and return to the river when the fish are three to five years old.
LLTK has been effectively implementing this salmon rearing technique on the Hamma Hamma River since 1998, and they now assist Tacoma Power and the Skokomish Tribe with an expanded program that includes the North Fork Skokomish River.
Rick and Joy had loaded 16 adult steelhead into a transportation tank in the back of a pickup truck and we drove from Hoodsport to the release site on the North Fork Skokomish River. It was a 40-minute drive along dirt roads that wound along canyon walls and deep into the forest. Reaching a turnout close to the river, the fish were carefully loaded into water filled truck tire tubes knotted on one end. I carried them to the river’s edge, waded into a calm pool, and slowly coaxed the fish into the open river. It was deeply satisfying to see the genetically wild fish acclimate and then move off into the current to spawn. This operation was part of the Hood Canal Steelhead Project.
On April 6, a group of Parametrix employee-owners and guests supported LLTK at their Spring Gala held at the Seattle Aquarium. This event raised $243,000 that will be used to continue the critical support of salmon recovery.
About the Author
Director of Salmon Recovery
He has 25 years of experience as a civil engineer, specializing in the development and implementation of habitat restoration programs, projects, and mitigation designs. He has led programs that targeted fish passage and enhancement of environments to connect historic floodplains throughout the Western United States.