Raising and Releasing Salmon Fry

February 15, 2017


At the beginning of the school year, with the help of parent volunteer Anja Bump, Dr. Heagler's class received approximately 500 salmon eggs and a fish tank in which to raise them from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Over the next few months, Dr. Heagler and her students watched the eggs grow into small fry. They took photos, and collected data on temperature, mortality, and the development process.  Finally, on an icy weekend morning in January, the fry were ready to be released into the Willamette River.  Dr. Heagler, several students, and parents met at the beach at George Roger's Park -- where the creek from the spillway of the dam enters the Willamette. First they waited while the temperature of the water in the fry bucket acclimated to the temperature of the creek. Then, students took turns carefully releasing a few fry at a time into the water. Some of the fry seemed disoriented and headed straight to the shore. The children tried to turn the fry back towards the river by gently swirling the water near them. Right away, the fry had to contend with several hungry birds. Even a large sea lion was spotted coming up for air just a few dozen feet off the shore!  Many of the fry headed bravely out on their journey into the river and eventually to the ocean. Congratulations to Dr. Heagler and her class on this wonderful learning experience and on their contribution to increasing Oregon's salmon population!  For more information about this program, watch this two minute video or follow this link.

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