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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
July 24, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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July 24, 2014
 

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salm on Thursday, July 24, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A- 15 By NATALIE JOHNSON news@masoncounty com A Tacoma Power program to build two new hatcheries is designed to lead to the introduction of hundreds of thou- sands of fish into the North Fork of the Skokomish River. The species to be produced in the hatchery include sockeye, chinook and coho salmon, and steelhead. "All this has come together in the last year or two," said Mark G. LaRiv- iere, senior fisheries biologist for Ta- coma Power, about plans for the hatch- eries. Tacoma Power had a public meeting Thursday evening at the Mason Coun- ty Fire District 18 station near Lake Cushman. Staff members were on hand to talk with area residents about a variety of issues, including fish projects, water levels on the lake and utility policies related to its dams at Lake Cushman and Lake Kokanee. More than 50 peo- ple showed up for the meeting. The project includes building two new hatcheries. Work began on the hatcheries in June. The North Fork Hatchery, at Lake Kokanee, will produce up 375,000 spring chinook, 35,000 coho salmon and 15,000 steelhead per year. The Saltwater Park hatchery, at Skokomish Park at Potlatch, will pro- duce 2 million sockeye juveniles per year. The projects are scheduled to be completed by fall 2015. Sockeye and spring chinook do not exist in the North Fork of the Skokom- ish River now. "The sockeye and spring chinook will be a new population, or some would consider them a re-established popula- tion," LaRiviere said. The fish might have existed in the river before Tacoma Power's Cushman No. 1 dam at Lake Cushman and No. 2 dam and powerhouse below Lake Ko- kanee were built in the late 1920s. "For argument's sake, they were ex- tricated when the dams went in," said Keith Underwood, natural resources manager for Tacoma Power. However, Underwood said there were no scientific studies of what fish actually lived in the North Fork of the Skokomish River before the Cushman dams were constructed. "There's a lot of speculation about what was there," he said. Sockeye and spring chinook salmon are native to the area, and it makes sense to release them into the Skokom- ish River, where they can migrate to Hood Canal, Underwood said. The species' will eventually natu- rally spawn and populate the area, he said. Tacoma Power has worked with the Skokomish Tribe and the Washing- ton Department of Fish and Wildlife to find sources of eggs for the sockeye and spring chinook. The sockeye eggs will come from the Baker Lake sockeye hatchery and the chinook eggs from the Marblemount Hatchery, both of which are on the Skagit River. Underwood said the first smolts from the program will be released in 2016 and 2017 and will likely be com- ing back as adults ready to spawn in 2020 The recent projects also include new methods of transporting fish around Cushman Dams 1 and 2 to spawn and migrate to sea. Adult fish are caught by a collection facility finished in July 2013 at the base of Cushman Dam No. 2. Work is now being done on a floating juvenile fish collector at Cushman Dam No. 1 at Lake Cushman. This collector uses a vacuum pump to create the il- lusion of a stream, attracting juvenile salmon into the collection system, staff said. Journal photo by Gordon Weeks A project to build two new hatcheries will add sockeye, chinook and coho salmon and steelhead into the Skokomish River. The fish will then be trucked around the dams and into the lower North Fork of the Skokomish River, where they can migrate into Hood Canal and the ocean. Allyn Days, 6eoduck Festval takes place STAFF REPORT news@masoncoun~ com ABOVE: Attendees of the annual Allyn Geoduck Festival paddle a dragon boat just before noon Sunday. The Tacoma Dragon Boat Association had races at the event that allowed festival- goers to sign up to try their hand. RIGHT: Shordy Shanklin, left, and Samantha Bluhm, of The Boathouse in Ailyn, serve geoduck chowder Sunday at the Allyn Geoduck Festival. Journal photos by Natalie Johnson Shellfish lovers came from near and far this week- end to visit Allyn for the 32nd annual Allyn Days on Saturday and Geoduck Festival Sunday. Saturday's Allyn Days included the festival's tra- ditional salmon dinner, a fundraiser for the historic Allyn Church and live music from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Geoduck Festival included the finals of Al- lyn's Got Talent, dragon boat races with the Tacoma Dragon Boat Association, Danny Vernon's "Illusion of Elvis" and vendors. Food vendors at the Geoduck festival included The Boathouse, Maxime Bilet's Moden~_ist Cuisine, Tay- lor Shellfish and Xinh's Clam & Oyster House. Both days included breakfasts cooked by Central Mason Fire & EMS crews and the North Mason Lions club. You Have a Choice for Your District//3 Commissioner! Please WRITE IN By Tuesday August 5th Paid for by Committee to Elect Ross Gallagher 240 S. 7th, Shelton WA 98584 rossgallagher@gmail.com Democrat Before Heading Back to School, Aug. 18-21, Evergreen Elementary 5 - 8:15 http://backtoschooljamboree.sopowered.com/ HELP families get ready for School NEEDED: School supplies, socks, shoes, undies COLLECTION boxes- OCCU Shelton and Union, Fire District #5 Questions Contact Lorilyn Rogers 427 8344