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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

STOCKTON FWO: Service Organizes Third Annual Stanislaus River Salmon Festival

Region 8, November 5, 2011
Kes Benn, a Fish Biologist with the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program, teaches children about aquatic invertebrates.
Kes Benn, a Fish Biologist with the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program, teaches children about aquatic invertebrates. - Photo Credit: n/a
Seymore the Salmon and Fish Biologist Ramon Martin, direct kids toward the Salmon obstacle course at the Stanislaus River Salmon Festival.
Seymore the Salmon and Fish Biologist Ramon Martin, direct kids toward the Salmon obstacle course at the Stanislaus River Salmon Festival. - Photo Credit: n/a

By J.D. Wikert, Stockton FWO

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) staff took the lead in organizing the 3rd Annual Stanislaus River Salmon Festival. The event featured a large number of interactive activities and focused on providing opportunities to connect children with nature.

The event was held on November 5, 2011 at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Knights Ferry Recreation Area along the Stanislaus River in California’s Central Valley. Over 1,300 people attended the event despite cool overcast weather. Partnerships with agencies, consultants, non-profits, and other organizations made the event a great success. The East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District, Modesto Junior College, Great Valley Museum, FishBio, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and both Oakdale and Knights Ferry schools played key roles in organizing the event.

The event offered a variety of opportunities for outdoor education including salmon carcass survey demonstrations and fish identification by the California Department of Fish and Game, fly-fishing demonstrations, salmon egg bracelets and fish tattoos. Salmon spawning in the river could be viewed from the bridge and via a live salmon cam. Visitors also made their own Gyotaku (fish print) t-shirts. Numerous exhibitors had live aquatic macroinvertebrates and the Service even had mayflies hatching in their exhibit throughout the day.

The event included a salmon art competition among K-12 schools along the Stanislaus River. The winning art was showcased in a festival calendar that was available for sale at the event. The calendar includes local events and descriptions of salmon life history in the Stanislaus River by month. Proceeds from the calendar sales go to support next year’s event.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers museum at Knights Ferry was open and showing videos about salmon and rivers. Freshly cooked salmon was offered at bargain prices by the Lions Club, 4H provided hot dogs, and Knight Ferry School conducted a bake sale. Live music was provided by local talent, including fourth and fifth grade students from Knights Ferry.

In addition to organizing the event, Service staff provided information on salmon, restoration, fish monitoring, and aquatic nuisance species, and helped out with exhibitor setup/cleanup, and answered questions about the salmon life cycle and the fish spawning in the Stanislaus River.

Thanks to all who participated in the event and helped to make it a great success. Next year’s event will be held on November 3, 2012.

Contact Info: Ramon Martin, 209-334-2968 ext. 401, ramon_martin@fws.gov