Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project, Inc.

The Willamette River Steelhead Project
January 26, 2001 Chinook Salmon Release

On the 26th of January, 2001, the Urban League's Portland Street Academy joined forces with the Portland Salmon Corps and Parkrose High School Ecology class members to release dozens of fingerling Chinook into the mouth of Columbia Slough.  The Slough enters the Willamette River in North Portland, Oregon, a short distance from the Willamette's own juncture with the Columbia River to the north.  The fish had been hatched from eggs by the Parkrose students.

The Salmon Release was hosted by Marv Welt, Director of the Help Our Salmon Program.  Help Our Salmon is sponsored by the Northwest Steelheader's Association, City of Portland Bureau of Environmenatl Services (BES), Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) S.T.E.P. (Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program), the US Salmon Corps, and funded by Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB).

The following JPEGs were made from digital photographs taken by Dr. Patrick Schwab, Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Portland.

Members of the Urban League's Portland Street Academy arrive at Kelly Point Park after a bus tour of lower Portland Harbor.

Urban League students followed a trail from the Park's parking lot to the mouth of the Willamette River, about 1/2 mile to the north.

An historical marker near the Columbia River describes the 1805-1806 Lewis and Clark expedition; the first historical contact with the Willamette River.  The sign makes no mention of York, an African American present on the expedition and the first known Black in the Portland area.  Students discussed local Black History at the sign, including the significance of York, Indian diseases on Sauvies Island (visible to the west) in the 1830s, and the Vanport Flood of 1948.

Students and teachers observed ocean-going ships enter Portland Harbor from the Columbia River.  Their vantage point is  near northwest extent of Kelly Point Park.

Parkrose and Urban League students later gathered at the mouth of Columbia Slough where it enters the Willamette River to witness the release of the Chinook fingerlings raised by Parkrose students.

Urban League students listened to presentations by Help Our Salmon and Portland Salmon Corps representatives.

Marv Welt, Director of the Help Our Salmon program and Educational Director of the Northwest Steelheaders Association, reviewed the "salmon cycle" with students before preparing to release the fish.  He is using a brochure provided by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Parkrose students then brought out the Chinook fingerlings, where they were being kept cool in an insulated container.

Marv took the fish several yards from shore before releasing them.  Several students noted the fish returning almost immediately to the shore line, hovering in a few inches of water a short distance from their feet.

An ecology student from Parkrose videotaped the fish release and also documented other activities during the field trip.

Following the fish release, a member of the Salmon Corps divided students into three groups: a habitat assessment group, a water quality testing group, and a macroinvertebrate sampling group.  Each group was hosted by Salmon Corps members and students moved from one location to the next in order to participate in each activity.

One group of students worked with Salmon Corps members to test water quality, including temperature, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen content.

Other students participated in macroinvertebrate inventories.  These students have discovered a freshwater clam, a surprising indicator of good water quality near the mouth of the Columbia Slough.

The weather was perfect for this outing, and a number of students reported being excited by what they had learned and experienced.

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This page created March 12, 2001.
©2001 - Oregon Websites and Watersheds Projects, Inc.