Methow Conservancy staff members Mary Kiesau, Julie Grialou and I, together with MC Board President Kevin van Bueren and his son Jackson, had the fortune of participating in a morning of education and observation related to spring Chinook on one of our conservation easement properties. The Yakama Nation, the Methow Conservancy and local landowners have been partners this spring on the first active salmon acclimation project to occur on one of our organization’s conservation properties. The activities that took place last Monday were the final measurements of certain metrics before the release of the spring Chinook smolts into their new future in the wild.
Optimally, this means that they will find their way to the ocean and come back to spawn in or near their acclimation site. These fish are tagged in such a way that arrays, set up in several locations within the side channel below their acclimation site and throughout the Methow mainstem, will document their movement throughout their lifetime in this area. It will be years before the success of this effort can be evaluated, but in the meantime, it is fun to watch the research in action in such a beautiful setting. If I were one of those young Chinook, I would most certainly want to return to such a place for my last rites.
The photos show Yakama Nation biologists Rick Alford, Kraig Mott and Jason Hickman, netting fish, sedating them, taking weight and length measurements, reviving them and ultimately returning them to the pond. We also observed heron, bear scat and wood ducks on this gorgeous property so full of life. Another tough day at the office …
By Heide Andersen, Stewardship Director - Heide loves to ride bikes and horses and used to race belt sanders.