Predators, disease, pollution...oh my! It’s tough in Puget Sound for steelhead. Fortunately, we're able to help while having some fun in the process. Each May, Team #Bothell follows one of the 48 wild steelhead through Survive the Sound. In 2022 we followed our spokesfish, Hank, during its migratory race to survive Puget Sound. Read all about the journey!
What makes a healthy salmon?
Salmon are sensitive to water conditions, which makes them good indicators of water pollution. Salmon need certain conditions to be healthy:
Streamside vegetation and stable steam flows
Cool, clean water with enough oxygen
Clean, loose gravel to protect salmon eggs from predators and allow water to flow through the eggs for oxygen
Benthic macroinvertebrates. You may be asking, "What are those?!" They include things like stoneflies, mayflies, damselflies, caddisflies, and various worms. These organisms begin as larvae that fall from the trees into the stream. Next, they burrow in the gravel of the streambed and hatch in the spring. And salmon find them to be mighty tasty! Benthic macroinvertebrates are good indicators of water quality issues because most are pollution intolerant.
Coho salmon hatching in Quilcene, Washington
Video credit: Florian Graner & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - July 29, 2015
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