Community Salmon Teams
Salmon seining - Watmough
Lopez Community Salmon Team and Waldron Citizen Science monitor large salmon nurseries at Watmough Bight, a protected beach on Lopez Island's largely undeveloped south shore, and Cowlitz Bay, where sandy and cobble beaches meet the rocky slopes of Mount Disney. Every two weeks from late May to October, volunteers use special 120-foot seines to sample aggregations of fish in the bay. Juvenile Chinook and Coho salmon are measured, their caudal fins are clipped for genotyping to determine their streams of origin, and non-lethal gut lavage recovers specimens of what they have been eating.
All visible injuries are recorded, and parasites such as "sea lice" and isopod gill parasites are documented and removed. Sandlance and herring, the main fish prey of juvenile salmon, are also measured and fin-clipped for genotyping to monitor year to year changes in their spawning times and areas. Juvenile rockfish (Sebastes spp), frequently encountered at Cowlitz Bay, are measured and lavaged because their early life histories and are poorly understood. Results are reported to the community at SalmonAtion, an annual January celebration with locally produced food and wine, music, and art (see our Calendar).
Watmough Bight is part of the San Juan Islands National Monument established by Executive Order in 2013, and is collaboratively managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the San Juan County Land Bank, local volunteers, and Kwiáht.
See also: citizenscience.weebly.com/
Research Paper: Neritic Diet of Juvenile Chinook
Local students visit Watmough seining
Volunteer Glen Riley and student