UW News

October 20, 2020

Video: Local stream watchers add to salmon science

UW News

This fall, about three dozen people signed up to help count the salmon in their local streams and creeks. Recruited by University of Washington Bothell teaching professor Jeff Jensen, these volunteers agree to observe a stream location for at least half an hour per week (while taking coronavirus precautions) to gather vital information about salmon in streams that flow into Lake Washington and the Sammamish River.

A coho salmon as seen underwater

A coho salmon in McAleer Creek / Jeffrey Jensen

As part of the Salmon Watchers program, these citizen scientists are watching 11 streams, from Bear Creek near Redmond downstream to Thornton Creek in north Seattle and May Creek in Renton. Volunteers file reports online about any chinook, sockeye, kokanee or coho salmon they see.

Jensen trains the watchers how to identify different species, manages the data, and exchanges information and observations with the participants. He’s also sharing all the findings with state biologists.

Salmon Watchers is Jeff Jensen’s revival of a King County salmon program that ended in 2015 and has support from the city of Bothell in collaboration with the Three Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The program started in September and could continue into December.

“It’s wonderful to see how much enthusiasm there is out there in the community for doing this,” Jensen said. “I think people are really hungry to engage with some of these environmental problems in a tangible way.”

Read more from UW Bothell: https://www.uwb.edu/news/october-2020/salmon-stream-watchers