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Local students learn about salmon at EWEB's spawning channel

September 30, 2022

Local middle school students from around the area learned about the entire life cycle of salmon along the McKenzie River at Salmon Watch 2022. The field trip took place during peak salmon spawning season, when fish that are at least two feet long are reaching the end of their journey from the ocean to their natal streams.

Students rotated through various volunteer-staffed educational stations, where they will learn about topics such as aquatic insects, water quality, riparian habitats and salmon.

The field trip was at EWEB's spawning channel, near the Carmen-Smith hydroelectric project. The Carmen spawning channel was built by EWEB to provide habitat for salmon. The calm water and deep pools in the channel provide ideal habitat for the fish to spawn. In the last year, EWEB rebuilt the channel to enhance the habitat area as part of the utility’s relicensing requirements for the Carmen-Smith hydroelectric project.

For many of these students, this field trip will be their first time seeing such large fish so far up the river. The field trip is an opportunity for students to learn about the importance of protecting existing habitat areas and creating new ones. This year resumes the Salmon Watch field trips, which go back nearly 30 years, but haven’t taken place since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

KEZI aired a story on the Salmon Watch field trip on Tuesday, Sept. 27, when middle school students from Coburg Charter School visited the spawning channel.