To enhance and recover salmon in Edmonds, the Students Saving Salmon Club from Edmonds-Woodway High School were out last weekend monitoring water quality in Edmond and supplementing the salmon population in Shell Creek.
Students placed about 250 coho salmon eggs from the Willow Creek Salmon Hatchery into a hatchbox and then secured the hatchbox in upper Shell Creek. The salmon egg hatchbox is designed to hold fertilized salmon eggs in a stream until the eggs hatch and fry emerge. Each egg is placed in an individual chamber that has holes large enough to allow water passage but too small for the egg to pass. Once the egg has hatched and the newborn salmon consumes its yolk sac, the salmon fry is slim enough to pass through the holes and into the stream.
The hatchbox functions similarly to gravel in the stream, where salmon naturally lay their eggs to incubate with the fry emerging from the gravel. With the hatchbox method, hatchery-spawned salmon feed naturally in the stream rather than having to be fed in hatchery ponds. The hatchbox will remain in the cool, well-oxygenated waters in Shell Creek until early March, when the coho salmon fry will emerge from the hatchbox and begin their first year of life in the creek.