Thousands of young salmon begin a new life in Edmonds’ Shell Creek

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Sound Salmon Solutions, the Edmonds Stream Team, Willow Creek Hatchery staff and various community volunteers, more than 5,000 baby salmon were released into Edmonds’ Shell Creek Saturday morning as part of the effort to enhance salmon runs in local streams.

“These baby coho were hatched right here in Edmonds at the Willow Creek Hatchery,” explained Joe Scordino, retired fisheries biologist and long-time advisor to the group. “They all hatched from eggs we received from the Issaquah hatchery last December. At the time, some were planted in hatch boxes and deposited directly in the streams, and the rest – the fish we’re releasing today – were reared in the Willow Creek Hatchery holding pond.” (See My Edmonds News story here)

The Edmonds Stream Team had its beginnings more than seven years ago as the Edmonds-Woodway High School Students Saving Salmon Club. It has now grown to include students and faculty advisors from Meadowdale High School.

“We now have almost 100 students on the Stream Team,” said Scordino. “It’s been fantastic adding Meadowdale to the effort – with more students we can do so much more to help restore, enhance and foster salmon runs in our local streams.”

The salmon released today will eat and grow in the freshwater environment where they will imprint on the unique chemical signature of the stream’s water. They will eventually migrate downstream to Puget Sound, where they will mature in the marine environment. After spending up to three years in saltwater, those that have survived predation, fishing and the many other hazards will return to Shell Creek to spawn, literally sniffing out and following the chemical signature right back to where they were released.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

  1. Joe, I appreciate your ( and your lovely wife) efforts toward this worthy cause and love the fact that you are engaging Highschool students and the Edmonds community at large.

  2. I am curious as to how a private citizen may contribute to this effort either financially, or in other ways.

    1. Hi Steven! My name is Kaelie Spencer, I am the Hatchery Program Coordinator for Sound Salmon Solutions. Thank you so much for asking how you can contribute. Here is a link with more information about our hatchery and the wonderful history behind it. If you’d like to be on our volunteer list, please email me at: and I can give you more details! You can also follow us on facebook at Willow Creek Salmon and Watershed Education Center.

    2. Hi Steven,
      I’m Mary Brueggeman, Executive Director of Sound Salmon Solutions. You asked how you might contribute financially. I’d be happy to talk with you about a contribution to particular areas/programs. My email is
      Kaelie’s got you covered on the volunteer side. Of course you can always make a donation on our website. And for GiveBIG at
      Thanks so much for your interest in SSS! Mary

  3. Great Job as always Sound Salmon Solutions along with Joe, Nancy, Walt, and all parents and grandparents that helped out. It was a perfect day and a tree fell in Yost Park telling us that the environment needs attention!

    The hands-on learning experience is invaluable and so much fun to boot and no one fell in!

  4. This is a great story for Coho salmon. It is very hard to find information on Chinook runs in Puget Sound. Our southern killer whales feed primarily on Chinook. The project is probably good for folks and animals who like and need Coho.

  5. The wild Chinook Salmon Runs in Puget Sound have been largely destroyed over the years for a variety of reasons, with habitat degradation and over fishing being the two main culprits. Prior to World War II commercial net fishing was pretty much banned in Puget Sound because this was considered the mating grounds for the fish and vital to their survival.

    Wild Chinook are now identified by the presence of an adipose fin on their backs as opposed to no fin on Chinook of hatchery origin. The only Chinook salmon retention allowed in the sport catch are hatchery fish for well over 20 years now in Puget Sound and pretty much all salt water sport fisheries in the state. The large (30 to 50 lb.) native fish from the Skagit and Snohomish river systems have largely gone almost extinct unfortunately. The Tulalip Tribes have a very large Chinook hatchery designed to enhance Salish Sea Chinook numbers their members traditionally had used from the Snohomish/Stillaguamish River system.

    Many of the Chinook raised in state hatcheries are retained longer than normal which causes them to stay in the Sound and Salish Sea as what are commonly referred to as resident Blackmouth Salmon and part of a designed for sport fishery. These fish are also probably somewhat critical in the Southern Orca Whale diet and some end up being caught incidentally as by catch in the minimal commercial fisheries still allowed in the Salish Sea (Puget Sound). In short, wild Chinook in local waters are a highly endangered species, just like the Southern Orca Whales that eat them. Both species are pretty much at the top of their two respective food chains and very much influence each other’s continued existence. They are pretty much at the mercy of the human species at this point.

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