By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
After watchers spotted coho spawners struggling to enter Fauntleroy Creek from the beach, the Fauntleroy Watershed Council called on State Fish and Wildlife to assess conditions there and get permission from the reach-to-the-beach property owner for emergency clearing of vegetation choking the channel.
(Spawner in Fauntleroy Creek)
Spawners were hampered by logs on the beach and a thicket of vegetation that was almost impenetrable. Restoration of this reach happened a decade ago but reed canary grass and nightshade soon got a toehold and began spreading. Spurred on by Tuesday’s sighting of 30 robust spawners schooling near the mouth, neighbors, volunteers, and Steve Richmond and Joey Baumgartner with Garden Cycles set to work.
“In my opinion, Steve and Joey really saved this spawning season on Fauntleroy Creek,” said council member Dennis Hinton. “Within four hours, they had adjusted logs, cleared vegetation in the channel, and anchored erosion-control fabric where banks needed support. By the end of the day, another dozen spawners were poised to enter the reach and head to spawning habitat.” This work was the first to draw on the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund established in 2018 to accept private donations.
You will have a chance to see spawners during an “open creek” on Saturday, noon to 3 pm. Come to the fish-ladder viewpoint at SW Director and upper Fauntleroy Way to catch the eye of a salmon watcher below or come directly down the driveway at 4539 SW Director Place. Dogs must be tightly controlled.
Can’t make the “open creek”? Watershed Council members will be at Sunday’s Fauntleroy Fall Festival (2-5 pm in the church/Y/schoolhouse triangle, 9100 block of California SW) to talk salmon during this “Silver Anniversary” year honoring the first spawners in 1994.