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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

STOCKTON FWO: Return of the Salmon Festival

Region 8, October 20, 2012
Guests observing salmon on the newley expanded public viewing platforms at the Battle Creek Fish Ladder at  Coleman National Fish Hatchery.
Guests observing salmon on the newley expanded public viewing platforms at the Battle Creek Fish Ladder at Coleman National Fish Hatchery. - Photo Credit: n/a
Service employee answers questions about fish life cycles and habitat.
Service employee answers questions about fish life cycles and habitat. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Greg Nelson and Jerrica Lewis, Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office

On October 20, 2012, the 22nd Annual “Return of the Salmon Festival” was held at the Coleman National Fish Hatchery in Anderson, California. The Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office, represented by staff from the Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program and the Aquatic Invasive Species Program, teamed up and provided informational displays, brochures, and coloring books to visitors attending the festival.

Other activities at the festival included a new salmon viewing platform, spawning operation and egg incubation tours, the mobile salmon aquarium, a fish dissection and anatomy station, fish tagging and feeding, fly-fishing demonstrations, wildlife art, face and shirt painting, a Shasta Blood Center blood drive, and much more.

Hatchery Manager Scott Hamelberg provided information about the record returns to the hatchery in 2012. Of the 800,000 adult Chinook salmon returning to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Coleman NFH had received approximately 95,000 adults so far, and should have over 125,000 by the end of December. These numbers should provide an exceptional amount of brood stock for the upcoming years.

The festival also provided an important outreach opportunity for the Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program to exemplify the Service's mission of  working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Program staff explained to the visitors that the salmon reared at the hatchery are sampled by the Service in trawls and beach seines within the San Francisco Estuary. Chinook salmon caught by the program provides important distribution information to those agencies that make decisions on the management of salmon. Educating the public about salmon allows them to understand the importance of conserving aquatic resources in California. This year’s Salmon Festival was a success and the Stockton FWO will  attend next year with the same enthusiasm for education.

Contact Info: Joseph Kirsch, 209-334-2968 ext. 309, joseph_kirsch@fws.gov