Adult Salmon Spawner Surveys

A cooperative project with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A method of evaluating the success of habitat projects is to count returning adult salmon. Every season we conduct ‘salmon spawner surveys’ where trained volunteers walk streams and rivers to count the live and dead salmon. During these surveys, salmon redds (nests) are also noted in order to understand the distribution of spawning habitat.

This information is provided to WDFW biologist as another tool for managing the fisheries resource.

When volunteers survey a system, they not only count the live and dead fish, but they also collect scale and tissue samples from the salmon carcasses. Scale samples are used to determine age, the otolith (ear bone) are used to identify age and origin, and tissue samples are used for DNA analysis.

Snorkeling is another method of surveying rivers and streams to count returning adult salmon. Trained volunteers snorkel the Hamma Hamma River to count live and dead fish and to collect carcasses for sampling.