Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
STOCKTON FWO: Service and Partners Organize Fifth Annual Stanislaus River Salmon Festival
California-Nevada Offices , October 26, 2013
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Featured artwork (August) for the 2014 Salmon Festival Calendar.
Featured artwork (August) for the 2014 Salmon Festival Calendar. - Photo Credit: Art Credit River McCarthy, Grade 3, Teacher Ms. Johnson, Knights Ferry School.

By J.D. Wikert

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff took the lead in organizing the 5th Annual Stanislaus River Salmon Festival. The event featured  exhibitors focused on providing an educational and fun time for children of all ages. The event was held on October 26, 2013, at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Knights Ferry Recreation Area along the Stanislaus River in California’s Central Valley. Over 1,800 people attended the event on a beautiful sunny Saturday. Partnerships with agencies, private businesses, non-profits, and other organizations made the event successful. The East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District, Modesto Junior College, Great Valley Museum, FishBio LLC, 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 ID from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), watching salmon spawning in the river from the Knights Ferry bridge and making your own Gyotaku (fish print) t-shirts. Numerous exhibitors had live aquatic macro-invertebrates, and the Service booth offered the opportunity to view aquatic macro-invertebrates through a dissecting scope and led kids in creating their own salmon egg bracelets. The Service and CDFW had a 200 gallon aquarium with about a dozen yearling Chinook salmon that were brought from the Merced River Hatchery.

The event included a salmon art competition among K-12 schools from the local area along the Stanislaus River. The art contest winners were included in a festival calendar 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, and a set of calendars will be donated to classrooms participating in the “Salmon in the Classroom” program.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers museum was open and live raptors were on display. Freshly cooked salmon was offered by the Lions Club, 4-H provided hot dogs, and the Knights Ferry School conducted a bake sale. Live music was performed by local talent.

Modesto Junior College volunteers helped with traffic and other duties. In addition to organizing the event, Service staff provided information on salmon, restoration, monitoring, and aquatic nuisance species, and helped out with exhibitor setup/cleanup, and answered questions about salmon and the Stanislaus River on the bridge overlooking the river.

For more information, and pictures, please visit the Stanislaus River Salmon Festival Facebook page.

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 8, 2014.

J.D. Wickert is a habitat restoration coordinator at the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Service Office in Lodi, California.

Contact Info: Paul Cadrett, 209-334-2968 x 312, paul_cadrett@fws.gov
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