Washington Gene Bank Project Begins!


Native Fish Society volunteers kicked off a multi-year project on the White Salmon River last weekend!

Native Fish Society is beginning a project that will tell the story of what is happening with our wild Steelhead in waterways which have been designated a Gene Bank River. (Steelhead Gene Bank designation means that no hatchery Steelhead will be introduced into these systems). We hope that the data will show an increase in wild native runs of Steelhead! We are collecting data by both finding current data from various partner agencies and tribes, as well as performing our own redd counts.

This past weekend, working in partnership with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Yakima Tribe, we trained new and seasoned River Stewards on how to count and record redds. Using Ipads on loan from WDFW, we are able to geotag Chinook, Coho and Steelhead redds. It was a cold and stormy weekend (it snowed on us the second day) but we managed to find a Chinook redd, and mark entry and exit points for other volunteers who will be helping us on these tributaries through next Spring!

Are you interested in walking some beautiful creeks, looking for spawning wild fish, and collecting the data that can help revive abundant wild fish around the region? Are you handy with a machete and want to help clear and mark entrance and exit points on tributaries? We can use the help! We have sections of waterways that need to be monitored and safe access to tributaries that need to be identified. You can join us for a single redd count expedition (usually 3 to 4 hours long) during the week, or on the weekend, or you can sign up for as many shifts as you would enjoy. Don't want to get snowed on? We also have summer run Steelhead Gene Banks that will need our care and attention.

Contact jmichelle@nativefishsociety.org. Together, we'll tell the story of wild fish recovery on our Washington Gene Bank Rivers.

Photos clockwise: Coho redd on Buck Creek, New River Steward Chelsey Betterly on Buck Creek, New River Steward Emily Babcock...first time in waders! The intrepid crew, preparing their decent to Mill Creek.