By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
Salmon-release season for schools on Fauntleroy Creek ended Thursday when children from A Child Becomes Preschool put their coho fry in the water.
All but one of the 15 school releases coordinated by the Fauntleroy Watershed Council resembled field trips before the pandemic. Sizable groups of (masked) students and adults explored the park’s natural habitat while releasing their fish. Some groups also visited the lower creek.
All told, 460 children released 1,460 fry reared through the Salmon in the Schools program. Many of the 167 adults who chaperoned also put fish in the water. Members of the all-volunteer release team were Dennis Hinton, Pete Draughon, Shannon Ninburg, and Tom Trulin.
Most schools did very well this year rearing their salmon from eyed eggs; as a result, about 200 of the “just in case” fish reared by volunteer Jack Lawless can now be used for a community release. All are invited to drop by the big bridge in Fauntleroy Park (map) on Sunday, June 5, 1-3:00 pm to put them in the water.
Also in late May, volunteers wrapped up the annual count of smolts leaving the park and lower creek for their two years in saltwater. The count was considerably lower than last year (11 compared with 49), likely because the pandemic reduced the number of schools that brought fry in 2021. Monitors also counted upward of 400 live fry in the lower smolt trap, most being “home hatch” from last fall’s robust spawning.
The next season of volunteer monitoring will start in mid-October, when salmon watchers will document spawners and spawning activity in the lower creek.