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Help keep tabs on native salmon as a Salmon Watcher Program volunteer


The salmon are headed home - and King County needs volunteers to count returning fish.


The salmon are headed home – and King County needs volunteers to count returning fish.

Many Pacific salmon species have begun the final stretch of their remarkable migration from the open ocean back to the King County rivers and streams of their birth. They will spawn then die as their offspring begin life in the gravels below.

King County and partnering jurisdictions are looking for volunteer “Salmon Watchers” to keep an eye out for fish at streams throughout the Lake Washington watershed. Salmon Watchers spend about 15 minutes twice a week at a designated site along a stream and look for returning salmon during the fall.

This volunteer work of monitoring salmon migration and spawning activities is an important part of fisheries management. The data collected are used by agencies and groups working to help restore weak salmon runs and improve habitat for all fish and wildlife.

You can become a salmon watcher by attending one of the free classroom trainings to learn how to identify the salmon that spawn in King County streams. Trainings are scheduled for:

• Tuesday, Sept. 11, Bellevue City Hall, Bellevue;
• Thursday, Sept. 13, Woodinville City Hall, Woodinville; and
• Wednesday, Oct. 3, Greenwood Senior Center, Seattle.

All trainings are from 7-9 p.m. Those interested in volunteering should arrive a few minutes early to sign in.

Salmon watchers can choose a place to watch from among hundreds of established sites, or King County will create a new salmon-watching site that is convenient to work or home. No experience is necessary, although past volunteers are always welcome.

For more information about the Salmon Watcher Program, please contact ecologist Jennifer Vanderhoof, 206-263-6533, or, or find us on Facebook.