EWEB 2023 year in review
In 2023, EWEB invested in our community with grants, rebates and an array of other programs and measures aimed at fulfiling our core values of safety, reliability, affordability, environmental responsibility and community/culture.Find Out More
EWEB Recognized with Excellence in Communications Awards from American Public Power Association
We are proud to have been recognized with two Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards for 2023 from the American Public Power Association (APPA).Find Out More
Let's talk turkey. If a disaster strikes, is your family ready?
Many of us avoid discussing politics over the dinner table in the spirit of family peace and harmony. But here's a topic that can bring everyone together: emergency preparedness.Find Out More
EWEB To Hold First of Two Public Hearings on Proposed 2024 Budget and Prices
At the Nov. 7 Board of Commissioners meeting, EWEB staff will present a proposed budget that includes rate increases necessary to support utility operations and make needed infrastructure investments.Find Out More
Public Power Week Poster Contest Winners 2023
The results are in! View the winning posters from EWEB's 2023 Public Power Week Poster Contest.Find Out More
EWEB lead annual "Spill Drill"
EWEB coordinates drill as part of protecting Eugene’s drinking waterFind Out More
Public Power Week Poster Contest 2023
It’s that time of year again! October 1-7 is Public Power Week. To celebrate, EWEB is holding our annual poster contest for fifth graders in our service area. Help us pick the winners.Find Out More
Salmon Return to Finn Rock Reach
Finn Rock Reach and other restoration projects throughout the Middle McKenzie provide conditions to help young fish survive to adulthood.Find Out More
EWEB programs reflect community values
EWEB is here to serve our customer-owners and provides programs that reflect the values of our community.Find Out More
National Preparedness Month: Older adults take control in 1, 2, 3
We know older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the extreme weather events and emergencies we face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, depend on electricity for medical needs, or live in rural areas.Find Out More
Women in STEM: EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman's second degree brings a lifetime of benefits
EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman shares how getting her second degree was one of the most difficult and rewarding things she's ever accomplished.Find Out More
Bethel neighbors boost emergency preparedness during Emergency Water Station event
Staff gave out about 300 emergency water containers to enthusiastic community members eager to learn more about the water station.Find Out More
Stay cool during extreme heat events
With temperatures forecasted to reach over 100 degrees over the next several days, we've prepared some tips and tricks to help you stay cool.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet our servant leader and maker of tough decisions
Karen Kelley, Chief Operations Officer at EWEB, describes herself as a "servant leader," offering support and mentoring to four division managers at EWEB.Find Out More
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.Find Out More
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Salmon Watch Visits Carmen-Smith Spawning Channel
October 09, 2017
After an hour's ride up Highway 126, 30 excited middle school students spill from the bus steps and into the quiet of the upper McKenzie River watershed. Justin Demeter, McKenzie Watershed Council education coordinator and chairperson of the local Salmon Watch Steering Committee, greets the students and sets the stage for the time they will spend at EWEB's Carmen-Smith spawning channel.
"What you are about to experience is something so special, few people get the chance to experience it firsthand," Justin says. He states this at the beginning of each Salmon Watch field trip, and each time his sincerity is evident.
In the days leading up to the field trip, students have learned a little about the salmon life cycle and ecology and today they will witness the moment where the cycle both ends and begins again. Having journeyed for many months from the Pacific Ocean, adult Chinook salmon have arrived — at the location where they hatched — to lay their own eggs. After spawning, the salmon die, returning valuable nutrients to the freshwater ecosystem.
While at the spawning channel, the students rotate through four volunteer-led stations to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of salmon and the watershed.
On a short walk through the forest, along the river's edge, students consider the role the riparian area — or land next to a body of water — plays in a healthy watershed. They feel the soft thorns of the native nootka rose and imagine the path of a raindrop as it hits the the tree canopy, then the shrubs and smaller herbaceous plants, eventually making its way to the river.
On this particular day, Nancy Toth from EWEB's Source Protection Department brings her expertise and enthusiasm to the riparian station.
When asked why she commits her time to Salmon Watch, Nancy responds, "It's important we help the community stay connected to the watershed, not only to be good stewards for salmon and other wildlife, but in Eugene we rely on the McKenzie River for our drinking water as well."
Along the bank of the river, near the mouth of the channel, students gather around a table for the water quality station. Here, they test the water in the channel for pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen and turbidity. As they discuss the results the volunteer educator prompts them to draw conclusions around how the state of the riparian area might affect the water quality, and how both might affect the survival of the salmon. After a pause, someone throws out a partial answer, which another students builds on, and another, until as a group they develop a response.
Following the water quality station, the group moves on to fish biology where they focus on the star of the field trip. Walking along the channel wearing bright pink glasses glasses with polarized lenses to reduce the glare off the surface of the water, the students count salmon. About halfway up the channel, Kelly Reis from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife points to a fish lying her on side using her tail to dig in the gravel.
"What do you think she's doing?" Kelly asks the students.
"Digging her redd," a few kids reply at once, seeming excited they know the terminology.
They continue walking, pointing out salmon to each other, until they reach the final station.
With the rush of the McKenzie as a backdrop, the students gather in front of small white basin containing river water, some debris and aquatic macroinvertebrates. The volunteer leading the station shows them how she collected the specimens by scrubbing the rocks along the the bed of the river, using a net to grab the small insects as they float downstream. The students begin poking in the water with plastic spoons and pipets, attempting to move each macroinvertebrate into a cell of an ice cube tray, after which they use a simple key to identify the species.
Watching the kids as they peer into the basins and try to figure out if what they have is a mayfly or a stonefly (it's almost always a mayfly), is a reminder of the power of experiential learning. A year from now they may not remember the details of what they learned today, but they might remember the spark of excitement they felt seeing that salmon dig her redd or the sense of discovery as they connected the concepts from one station to another.