‘You are welcome here’: Messages for salmon as they approach Fauntleroy Creek

The Southern Resident Killer Whales have come home because the salmon are returning. And if Fauntleroy Creek advocates and neighbors are lucky, they’ll see some of those fish any day now. That’s the reason for the annual drum circle to call the salmon home, organized by Judy Pickens steps from the creek on Sunday afternoon:

Judy told the all-ages attendees that the annual volunteer salmon watch was on, and there’d been a good sign – a female salmon spotted near the mouth of the creek, though she didn’t make it up the creek and her fate is unknown. Jamie Schilling led a bit of singing and drumming, as she does every year, but then – something new:

Visitors were invited to take a stone from a plate of river rocks longtime volunteer Dennis Hinton had brought back from a trip to Yakima, and to write a word or two with a wish for the salmon:

Before taking their rock-borne messages over to the creek banks, everyone was invited to share what they wrote – Messages of welcome, like “you are welcome here”; messages of encouragement, like “Go for it” and “Keep swimming”; and messages of hope, like “glory,” “love,” “peace,” “healing.”

If spawners show up in the creek, watch for word of an “open creek” chance to visit on an upcoming weekend.

19 showed up last year – we’ll know soon how this year turns out. As Jamie observed, despite the pandemic, “life goes on.”

8 Replies to "'You are welcome here': Messages for salmon as they approach Fauntleroy Creek"

  • wssz October 19, 2020 (6:00 am)

    It’s beautiful that we as a community do this. However, I am concerned about the toxic ink in the Sharpie pens being used to write on the stones.  I don’t see how that could benefit the fish or any other animal in any way.  Drumming and other hands-off approaches make more sense and would have far less environmental impact.  

    • WSB October 19, 2020 (10:04 am)

      Sharpie ink is NOT toxic. And the rocks were NOT placed in the water.

      • For orca mammas October 20, 2020 (8:17 am)

        WSB, in the photo above, it kind of looks like some rocks were being placed in the water.

        Along with wssz, I also wondered about the placing of rocks with sharpie ink in the creek, but any contamination is probably so low, it probably isn’t an issue…? But I understand where the concern is coming from. These salmon are up against a lot.

        The Fauntleroy Creek crew is doing awesome work on behalf of salmon, thank you to all involved!

  • wssz October 19, 2020 (7:45 pm)

    It is good to hear that the rocks weren’t placed in the water. However, products that are labeled non-toxic refer to the effects on people and perhaps dogs and cats. I learned through a very close call with my parrots that “non-toxic” does NOT apply to other animals — including fish, birds, and insects (including pollinators). I looked into the safety of the ink in Sharpies as it relates to fish after seeing your comment. There appear to be no definitive studies but people recommended not exposing fish to Sharpie ink to ensure their safety. After almost losing my parrots to a “non-toxic” product, I would urge extreme caution and not assume that this assurance applies to all animals, as it does not.  

  • Joe October 20, 2020 (10:46 am)

    WSSZ – please don’t get so uptight about a Sharpie. This is not a pristine creek by any stretch of the imagination. This is a creek that flows through a densely populated urban neighborhood. It gets runoff from vehicle oils, yard fertilizers, pesticides, pet feces,  ect.

  • Joe October 21, 2020 (11:01 am)

    I’m concerned with the mouth of Fauntleroy creek which flows underneath the ferry terminal pier. I was down there with my son on Monday, and there are a great number of logs jammed in the creek there. I’m not sure if there is room for the spawners to get through under the logs. I also don’t know if trying to open it up by removing logs to create a path would disturb the natural order of things.  Does anyone involved know what the right thing to do is? Is this something people are watching?

    • WSB October 21, 2020 (11:05 am)

      The mouth of the creek is on private property and watched carefully so if there’s a problem, it will certainly be addressed.

  • wssz October 21, 2020 (11:49 am)

    Joe: I get that this is not a pristine creek. That’s not the point. What is important are the cumulative impacts. At a certain point, an ecosystem breaks. There’s a tipping point and every drop of contamination or disturbance contributes to its collapse. It’s easy to shrug off yet another potential contaminant, justifying it as insignificant, as you appear to be saying. In doing so, we ignore the small impacts until it’s too late.     

Sorry, comment time is over.