Welcome, salmon: ‘This is always a hopeful time of year on Fauntleroy Creek’

(WSB photos)

“Thank you.”
“You can do it.”

Those are a few of the messages written on small pieces of driftwood and placed on the bank of Fauntleroy Creek this afternoon during the annual gathering celebrating salmon spawners’ imminent return.

Co-host Judy Pickens of the Fauntleroy Watershed Council said her message was “the power of hope … This is always a hopeful time of year on Fauntleroy Creek.” The hope is that volunteer creek-watchers will see coho soon. Dennis Hinton, also on the Fauntleroy Watershed Council, said there’s reason for hope:

He told the more than 30 people in attendance that a potential spawner had been seen near the creek’s mouth on Saturday, a four-to-five-pound female. A high tide of at least 11 feet is needed to get fish into the creek, and many upcoming days will oblige. Last year, two spawners showed up; the record was 2012, with volunteers counting 274.

The centerpiece of today’s celebration, as always, was music, led by Jamie Shilling (above), with attendees young and not-as-young joining in singing and percussion – with instruments from drums to tambourines to plant pots. Some songs are annual favorites, including “Habitat,” to the tune of the 1959 song “Lollipop“:

Shilling also led a new song, singing: “We are the voice of the earth, and we are rising up, rising up …” With those lyrics, participants pointed their message-bearing driftwood sticks skyward;

What happens from here is up to the fish, and the creek:

If spawners are present on a weekend, Pickens promises, the Fauntleroy Watershed Council will host an “open creek” – and we’ll announce it here on WSB.

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