- Let's Go Outside!
Gorge Information & Education Office
61552 State Road 14
Underwood, WA 98651
Gorge Information and Education Office offers a year-round public
outreach and education program. Our goals are to provide outreach
activities that are informative and relevant to our local and visiting
public, promote involvement and improve stewardship of our natural
resources. We strive to promote awareness of our
National Fish Hatcheries and the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Outreach goals are met through a variety of on-site and off-site activities
Call (509) 493-2934 or E-mail the
Columbia Gorge Information and Education (I&E) Office. Housed
at the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, one full-time and one
part-time employee provide outreach services and educational
support for the nearby Spring Creek, Carson, Little White Salmon and Willard National Fish Hatcheries, and the Lower Columbia River Fish Health
Information and Education staff are available to give tours of
the hatchery. Hatchery tours are given anytime during the year;
however, tours during late summer
are generally more eventful. Adults start coming up the fish ladder
and into the holding ponds in early May and spawning takes place on Wednesdays in August. Tours
during mid-October through December feature eggs and small fry
in indoor incubation trays and in outdoor raceways. In January
all fry are out in the raceways and the ponds are full. Marking
trailers are at Carson in early May for two weeks clipping the
adipose fins and inserting coded-wire tags. Release of the smolts
happen in mid-April each year. Call 509-427-5905 for exact dates.
The Information & Education (I&E) Office coordinates a
popular Salmon-in-the-Classroom activity in area schools. Students
rear salmon obtained from the hatchery in tanks, giving them the
ability to observe and learn about the salmon as they grow. Several
area schools have recently
"adopted" streams in local communities. This provides
further opportunities to explore water quality, habitat, and overall
watershed health. Salmon and stream units combine as students actually
release their salmon into local streams. Many cooperators work
together to make such activities possible.
past year three schools in the Klickitat Basin were fortunate
enough to have fish tanks and chillers provided to them for
continual use by the Yakama
Nation Fisheries Program. In addition to in-class presentation
by our office, a fisheries biologist from the Yakama Nation
made class visits to explain their program and explain more
about the cultural significance of salmon to native people.
Other educational opportunities that are provided by the
I&E Office include classroom visits to better understand
internal and external anatomy through fish dissection or
Gyotaku (the Japanese art of fish printing), or learning
how hatcheries play an important role in species conservation.
An array of educational material known as "fin bins" are
available for loan to educators, as are a variety of videos,
curriculum, and resource books.
Each year the hatcheries participate in annual events which highlight
what the hatcheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are
all about. Annual events include the Clark County Home and Garden
IDEA Fair (Vancouver, WA), HUGS
Festival (White Salmon, WA), National Boating and Fishing Week
activities (June) including the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Free Fishing Clinic and U.S. Forest Service Trout Lake Fish Education
Day. In addition, Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery holds an
annual Open House each September and Carson National Fish Hatchery
has a Kid's Fishing Day in September.
All of these are FREE events!!
The Fish and Wildlife Service is a partner with many other agencies
in our outreach efforts. Often times a partnership allows an
outreach activity or event to take place where it may not have
if working alone. A partnership with the Underwood
Conservation District in White Salmon, WA allows projects
like the Jewett
Creek Restoration Project to restore fish habitat and support
education projects. Partnering with Oregon
Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Washington
Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, U.S.
Forest Service, the Yakama
Nation Fisheries Program and
others allows the Information & Education staff to be more
involved in diverse outreach opportunities.
Golf- Links to the Sea miniature golf course...
Migration Golf--Links to the Sea is an innovative game which depicts
the life cycle of salmon. Five holes take the salmon from the hatchery
through such perils as terns, gulls, mergansers, and disease. Then
on to a working dam where the fish must pass through either the
bypass, spillway, or the turbines. On to the ocean where they encounter
sea lions, orcas, commercial fisherman and starvation. Back up
to the dam and over the fish ladder, and finally dodging fishing
boats and sport fishermen to re-enter the hatchery. It is a clever
way to teach the young and old about the trials and tribulations
that these fish face. This popular activity makes appearances at
hatchery open houses, special events and special requests.