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Help keep tabs on native salmon this fall as a King County Salmon Watcher Program volunteer

Adult salmon are now returning to the western Washington streams where they were born, including many streams here in King County.

Now you can learn how to identify the various species of native salmon – and discover which everyday actions can benefit fish and wildlife – by becoming a trained Salmon Watcher Program volunteer.

This is the 19th year of the Salmon Watcher Program, which includes free training on salmon identification and behavior, information about salmon habitat and how stormwater runoff and other factors can affect water quality.

Trained salmon watchers also serve as the eyes and ears on streams, and can notice and report potentially serious issues that could affect salmon health, such as pollution or a blockage issue. Volunteers are often watching streams that no one else surveys, and they can be the sole source of fish data for some streams.

Salmon watchers spend about 15 minutes twice a week at a designated site along a stream and look for returning salmon during the fall.

Volunteers can choose a place to watch from among hundreds of established sites, or King County will create a new salmon-watching site that is convenient to work or home. No experience is necessary, although past volunteers are always welcome.

Attend any of the free classroom trainings, which are scheduled for:

• Tuesday, Sept. 9, Renton City Hall, Renton, in partnership with Friends of the Cedar River Watershed. Those interested in attending this training should RSVP to Dani Kendall, 206-297-8141, or dani@cedarriver.org;
• Thursday, Sept. 11, Woodinville City Hall, Woodinville;
• Tuesday, Sept. 16, Bellevue City Hall, Bellevue; and
• Wednesday, Sept. 24, Carkeek Environmental Learning Center, Seattle.

All trainings are from 7-9 p.m. Those interested in volunteering should arrive a few minutes early to sign in.

Each training covers:

• How to identify the salmon species you may see in our region;
• What salmon look for in stream habitat;
• What you can do in your daily life to help the salmon; and
• How to collect the streamside data, should you choose to turn in data.

For more information about the Salmon Watcher Program, please contact Jennifer Vanderhoof at jennifer.vanderhoof@kingcounty.gov, or find us at www.kingcounty.gov/salmonwatcher.

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