by MAX ERIKSON
Over the next several weeks, the Lynnwood Hatchery Educational and Environmental Center will be releasing thousands of baby Coho salmon into Hall Lake as part of an educational program for students to learn more about the importance of protecting the environment. The hatchery teaches students about the life cycle of the salmon and the negative effects storm water runoff has on the health of our rivers and streams, and ultimately salmon populations.
Storm water pollution occurs when rain runoff washes oil, grease, trash, and other toxins from roadways into storm drains that eventually flow into rivers, lakes, and streams.
The city developed the hatchery after purchasing property on Hall Lake in 2015. Shortly after the purchase, the city was approached by Hall Lake resident Bruce Lawson who had been raising salmon himself with a permit for salmon eggs from the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department (WDFW). Lawson suggested the city take over the salmon raising process from him and the city accepted the offer. Lawson donated his allotment of eggs to the city and the hatchery was born.
The hatchery is now in its third year of raising Coho salmon with the main goal of teaching children about the link between healthy salmon and clean storm water. The hatchery partners with a nonprofit, environmental and education organization, called Nature Vision. Nature Vision’s mission is to bring nature programs to schools and serves students in King and Snohomish Counties. The salmon being raised at the hatchery are not meant for assisting in repopulation but are used as an educational tool for Edmonds School District students.
Derek Fada, the Environmental and Surface Water Supervisor for the hatchery, says they have six field trips coming up over the next few weeks, and each student will get the chance to release one of the salmons into the stream.
“We teach kids about the lifecycle of the salmon, the importance of protecting our streams, and how pollution from storm water runoff effects everything,” Fada says. “We want to bring awareness to children about the problem, but also give them a real link to the salmon by allowing them to adopt their own fish before setting it free in the lake.”
Most of the baby Coho will spend two years in the lake until they reach adulthood. At that time, the salmon will begin their long voyage to the Pacific Ocean. The salmon will start by exiting from Hall Lake into Hall Creek. From there, the salmon will link into Lake Ballinger, Lake Washington, Lake Union, through the Ballard Locks and finally out to the ocean.
The Lynnwood Hatchery Educational and Environmental Center is not open to the public but visits can be made by appointment for small or large groups. Fada hopes that the hatchery will expand in the future to ultimately become a public educational facility.
“We hope to expand and grow beyond the hatchery and into a broader community, environmental educational center,” Fada says. “We hope to insulate the property, add murals, and also expand into other things like yard care and gardening…teaching students about reusing rainwater captured in barrels.”
Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon and are a popular sport fish in the Pacific Northwest. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) estimate 670,200 wild and hatchery Coho will be returning to the Puget Sound this year up 15 percent of the 10-year average.
To schedule a visit to the hatchery, contact Storm Water Technician Cameron Coronado at 425-670-5245 or email at email@example.com.