SALMON: Emergency work opens Fauntleroy Creek to spawners – and you!

(Joey Baumgartner, photographed by Steve Richmond)

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.

(Steve Richmond, photographed by Dennis Hinton)

“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.

5 Replies to "SALMON: Emergency work opens Fauntleroy Creek to spawners - and you!"

  • JD October 24, 2019 (1:44 pm)

    Nice work!

  • Donna October 24, 2019 (2:50 pm)

    Glad to see “dogs must be tightly controlled.”  Word of warning, though. Contact with raw salmon—-such as fish that have died after spawning—- can lead to what is called salmon poisoning in dogs, a very serious illness that is fatal in 90% of cases if not treated within 5-7 days after symptoms appear. Not every salmon carries the fluke that then produces the bacteria that produces the toxin, but some do.  A quick bite of dead salmon on the ground or even rolling in it and licking itself, or even just stepping on dead salmon and then licking the paws can be sufficient to catch it.  Right now I’m really familiar with this as one of our dogs managed to come into contact with dead salmon alongside a river with spawning salmon (yes, she was on leash, but she either grabbed a quick gulp off the ground or simply walked across a bit of it).  It took 3 days of hospitalization to get her out of danger.  So, if you have your dog somewhere there might be raw salmon or trout (including if you have been fishing and are cleaning the fish, or if your dog has gotten into a garbage can with raw fish in it) be careful.

  • Also John October 24, 2019 (3:05 pm)

    Great job!!!

  • kdeL October 24, 2019 (3:08 pm)

    Thanks Steve and Joey!! They do a wonderful job . Garden Cycles are wonderful in improving the native habitat for wildlife!!

  • Steve Richmond October 25, 2019 (1:04 pm)

    Thank you all !  This was the most rewarding afternoon of work we’ve ever had, the main reason we do native plant restoration.  Steve

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