Grown Men Play In Woods, Remove Debris For Salmon
by Dennis Clark
Miller/Walker Creek Basin Steward
On Monday (Sept. 21st), a merry band of men who never lost their childhood sense of joy in playing in streams set off down Miller Creek in Burien and Normandy Park. Their grown up mission was to carefully assess and, where necessary, remove debris jams that block upstream salmon passage. With coho salmon due to return next month, now was the time to do this work.
Stream steward Dennis Clark, assisted by enthusiastic volunteers Andy Batcho, Jim Buchman, and Dave Evans, organized the project. Accompanying them was a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, the aptly named Larry Fisher. The B-Town Blogâ€™s own Michael Brunk, who thought he came along merely to take photos, also ended up helping to move the largest logs.
Click below to view his Photo Slideshow:
Salmon are persistent and agile fish and often can swim under, through, and over what appear to be complete blockages. However, in smaller streams such as Miller and Walker Creeks, some jams are complete blockages that would limit the ability of the fish to reach the upper parts of the stream where they would lay their eggs (spawn). At the same time, tree trunks and limbs in the stream provide an important role in creating pools where young salmon rear. Wood also provides shelter where young fish can hide from predators such as great blue herons. Consequently, the team carefully assessed each log/debris jam before deciding to take action. Larry provided the expertise and authority to determine which jams should be removed. Removal of jams in the stream â€“ and most activities affecting the stream channel â€“ require state approval. Based on their evaluation, the team disassembled two blockages. A third was too big for the equipment they had and theyâ€™ll return later this week to disassemble a part of that.
The debris jams on Miller Creek were on private property and the team thanks the various property owners who graciously granted property access.
This work complements ongoing efforts to improve streamside habitat, both by private property owners and through organized volunteer projects stretching from the Cove in Normandy Park to the restoration site on Miller Creek at S. 144th St. in Burien. October offers volunteer restoration opportunities on Miller and Walker Creeks on three Saturdays:
- Oct. 3rd
- Oct. 10th
- Oct. 17th
Learn more at the volunteer webpage here.
If you’re interested in volunteering on future stream blockage removals, contact Dennis at 206-296-1909, or via email: [email protected].