InStream Conservation

Why We Need Northwest Wild Fish Rescue

Why We Need Northwest Wild Fish Rescue

From Alaska to Northern California, wild and native salmon and steelhead are in trouble. All of NOAA’s evolutionary significant units for salmon and steelhead in Washington State are ESA listed and with very few exceptions, experiencing declines due to questionable hatchery practices, mining, logging, development, and bad agricultural practices. In addition, glaciers in Washington State have declined 25% to 30%, the result of climate change, further stressing our water resources.

Wild Fish Rescue is a Bright Spot!

This spring, Northwest Wild Fish Rescue will release over 35,000 coho and steelhead smolts into their tributary streams in the East Fork Lewis River and Salmon Creek watersheds. They will migrate down their native streams into the Columbia and on to Pacific pastures. In 1% to 3 years, they will return as mature adults, to spawn in their native streams. There, progeny will emerge from the gravel as fingerlings. As the creeks start to dry up, Dave Brown and his volunteers will rescue them from certain death and shelter them in cool, spring fed facilities through the hot summer and winter floods. The following spring when they reach smolt size 5″to 6″, they will be released back into their native streams to start the cycle, all over again.

NW Wild Fish Rescue

A Brief 10-Year History

Northwest Wild Fish Rescue started l0 years ago when Dave Brown found fingerlings in pools, on a creek on his property that was drying up. He rescued them. The next year he built a small pond, fed by springs on his property. The fish were held there until they were released the following spring as smolts. It worked!

The salmon came back to spawn. Since then with the approval of WDFW, Dave and his volunteers have expanded the facilities to handle over 35,000 fingerlings and now have facilities on Salmon Creek as well.

The concept is working and the cost is pennies compared to hatchery fish. With guidance and permits from Washington State Fish and Wildlife and NOAA, Northwest Wild Fish Rescue has developed a prototype that can be used to increase productivity in the thousands of miles of tributaries, in watersheds of the Northwest.

All it takes is committed grassroots fishing clubs and community organizations, willing to donate time and dollars. Plus aplace for cool spring fed facilities. It’s up to us!

Wild Fish Rescue Needs Your Help

In these hard economic times, fewer dollars are available for fish and wildlife programs. Northwest Wild Fish Rescue is seeking funding from private individuals and groups. Funds will help cover costs of equipment, fuel, constructing spawning beds, development with landowners of cold water refuges for fish, development of satellite facilities to raise fish, and purchase of fish food and analogues to enhance the nutrients in our tributary streams.

Together we can bring our wild fish back!

For more information and a tour of Northwest Wild Fish Rescue facilities, contact: 687-7049.

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