Friday, April 20, 2012

Lake Sammamish Kokanee Partner Celebration

Lake Sammamish kokanee fry
On April 19, 2012, citizens and partners in Lake Sammamish kokanee conservation gathered at Hans Jensen Park in Issaquah, WA to commemorate another successful year of the kokanee supplementation program. This year over 60,000 kokanee fry will be released, which is more than the past two years combined. The juvenile kokanee that are just a few inches long are primarily released at night; however, a few were released at the event to mark the success of this year’s efforts.

Releasing kokanee fry into
Laughing Jacobs Creek
Lake Sammamish kokanee, a landlocked form of sockeye salmon, have greatly declined in recent years and were petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act in 2007. Although the USFWS has determined that the species does not warrant listing, we continue to work with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), King County, local city governments, Trout Unlimited, Snoqualmie Tribe, and other local entities to rebuild its native population.  

Event attendees
Key elements of the Lake Sammamish kokanee strategic habitat conservation effort include protecting and restoring spawning habitat, reducing kokanee mortality in Lake Sammamish, and providing fish passage in tributary streams. The USFWS has provided funding and technical support for both short-term (supplementation program) and long-term (restoration) efforts and is designed to support these efforts for three kokanee generations (12 years). The supplementation program includes collecting wild spawners and using an innovative system of recirculating incubators at Issaquah Creek State Hatchery to increase egg-to-fry survival rates and maximize imprinting to natal streams.

Robyn Thorson, USFWS
Speakers at this year’s event included Dow Constantine, King County Executive; Robyn Thorson, USFWS Pacific Regional Director; Jim Scott, WDFW Assistant Director; and elected officials from Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, and Sammamish.
Click here to see a video of the fry release event.

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