Community

Snoqualme Valley students restoring salmon habitat

A small group of dedicated adults and children are proving that anyone can make a difference.

In this case, the proving ground is a section of the Snoqualmie River at the Stillwater Wildlife Area near Carnation.

The Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force hosts a youth salmon habitat restoration activity, this Wednesday and Thursday, March 25 and 26.

With help from project partners, 125 sixth graders from Snoqualmie Middle School are working to restore salmon habitat along the Snoqualmie River.

The Snoqualmie River watershed provides spawning and rearing habitat for five species of Pacific salmon, including Puget Sound Chinook which are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Like so many waterways around the region, the Snoqualmie River’s native salmon populations have dwindled during the years. Students will plant native trees and shrubs along the creek, and their efforts will help improve water quality and minimize erosion.

This effort is part of the Task Force’s Restoration Ecology for Young Stewards, or REYS, program. REYS is a project- and inquiry-based curriculum actively teaches youth about the ecology of the Puget Sound.

Students learn about riparian ecosystems, watershed dynamics, water quality, non-point source pollution, and salmon, and then apply their knowledge to design and implement a salmon habitat restoration project.

The goal of REYS is to promote environmental stewardship by enhancing critical thinking skills and drawing specific links between human actions and their ecological impacts on the Puget Sound watersheds.

The program is a partnership between the Task Force, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Snoqualmie Middle School. It is funded by Seattle City Light and the Washington State Department of Ecology, through Ecology’s Centennial Clean Water and Public Participation Grant programs.

The non-profit Task Force's mission is to ensure the future of salmon in the Stillaguamish, Snohomish River basins, and Island County watersheds. Efforts focus on salmon habitat restoration and protection, and public outreach and education. The group's members represent commercial, tribal, and recreational fishing interests, conservation organizations, the agricultural community, and area businesses.

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