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Volunteers can help save endangered fish at Salmon Center

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Folks looking to get some hands-on experience helping to save endangered fish will have plenty of chances in a few weeks when the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group's (HCSEG) Union River Summer Chum Program kicks off its 17th year.

Each year, the program runs Aug. 15 to Oct. 15 and volunteers are needed to monitor an adult trap on the Union River 24 hours a day, seven days a week while collecting critically important data. Working in pairs, volunteers are typically needed to serve five-hour shifts that involve identifying species and gender, removing the adult fish from the trap and placing them safely upstream while maintaining the trap itself. There are also some longer overnight shifts which run from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. HCSEG provides a trailer for overnight volunteers.

This collaborative project works to rebuild threatened Hood Canal summer chum populations in the Union and Tahuya rivers.

When the project first began, HCSEG worked with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to rebuild the Union River summer chum population. That run became healthy enough by 2003 that the returning adults were used as a donor stock to rebuild runs on the Tahuya River, where summer chum had been classified as "recently extinct." Supplementation continued through 2014, and both rivers have seen over 1,000 salmon return annually on average.

Without volunteer help, this program wouldn't be possible. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Seth Elsen at275-3575, ext. 12, or email

Summer chum salmon in Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca were listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1999. HCSEG's work with WDFW to supplement the Union River summer chum run began in 2000 as part of the Summer Chum Salmon Conservation Initiative, prepared by WDFW and the Point No Point Treaty Tribes.

Kevan Moore is the community organizer for Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. He can be reached at 275-3575, ext. 31

This collaborative project works to rebuild threatened Hood Canal summer chum populations in the Union and Tahuya rivers.

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Original Publication Date: July 21, 2016

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