Releasing Salmon & Reporting

You can release your salmon just before Spring Break if you aren’t going to be able to care for the fish during that time.  Release into the body of water listed on your WDFW Permit.  When you have finished, email YBEEP with the date of your release, the approximate number of fish, and the release site so we can report this information for you to the state.  Clean your equipment ASAP after releasing & store it all together in a safe place for next year.  All salmon need to be released & reporting done before leaving for summer vacation at the end of this school year.

Here is a life cycle video to share with your students:

Salmon Spawning

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White foam in your salmon tanks

The white foam you see in your salmon tanks after your eggs hatch is from the dissolving egg shells.  To help clean up the water, skim the empty eggshells out of your tank with a net as much as possible.

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2012 Safari Club International American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS)

The Central Washington Chapter of Safari Club International selects & pays all expenses (including air fare, room & board, & tuition) for local teachers each year to spend a week during the summer at the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) in Wyoming.  For more information & an application go to and click on educator application on the AWLS photo.  Print out the application if you are interested in being considered for summer 2012 and mail your application by February 15, 2012 to:

Deborah Barrett 
290 Orchard Drive
Naches, WA 98937
Home phone: 509-966-0504
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Predicting the hatch date of salmon using temperature units (TU)

When we delivered the eggs they had accumulated approximately 756 Temperature Units (TUs) up until you received them. Fall Chinook salmon eggs need about 900 Accumulated TUs (ATUs) to begin hatching. Subtract 756 from 900. 900-756 = 144 TUs = what they have left to accumulate to hatch.

Students should record _daily_ the water temperature, daily ATUs accumulated, total ATUs to date, and expected days to hatching. Daily ATUs are 1 unit for every degree the water in the tank is over 32 degrees F for 24 hours. (For example, if the water temperature in your tank is 50 degrees F.( just used as an example) for 24 hours, then 50 – 32 = 18 degrees over 32, or 18 ATUs for that day)

You can calculate the approximate number of days until hatch by the following formula:

900 – 756 = 144 (the number left to accumulate to hatch) divided by one day’s ATUs = the number of days until hatch.

For example, when the number of ATUs when we arrived with the eggs was 756 and if your water temperature is 50 degrees F, then 900 – 756 = 144 divided by 18 ATUs/day = about 8 days until hatch.

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January 2012 Salmon Egg Delivery

Attention: Central Washington Salmon in the Classroom Teachers:

Yakima Basin Environmental Education Program expects to deliver fall Chinook salmon eggs from Priest Rapids Hatchery to Grant, Chelan & Kittitas County tanks, signed up with us, on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.  We know some of you will be returning to school that day.  Please start your filters & chillers as soon as you arrive at school, or if possible stop by the school and turn on the equipment Jan. 2 or 3.  Yakima County deliveries will follow on January 5th & 6th.

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New Salmon in the Classroom Information!

We have learned some new information about the salmon in the classroom filter media that will hopefully help us to lose fewer fish this year.  There are three kinds of media in the filters: mechanical (the white pads) which filter the particles of waste out of the water; chemical (the charcoal bags) which neutralize harmful chemicals; and biological (the black foam pads & to some extent the carbon pellets) which form a surface to grow on for the beneficial bacteria that break down the ammonia and harmful nitrogen compounds which can kill the fish.  The mechanical filters need to be rinsed frequently and replaced periodically; the biological filter elements are considered a permanent part of the chiller, improving each year in their nitrogen handling capacity.  They can be rinsed at the end of the season, but need to be reused each year.  Discoloration just indicates that they are doing their job.  Last year, because the filters were new, the number of beneficial bacteria was minimal, but should be better this year.  To beef up the filtering ability of the filters this year, please add the new media we bring to the existing media from last year, and don’t substitute it for last year’s media.

For those of you with rod chillers, your biological media varies with the brand of filter you have, but, in general, are your sponges, plastic grids, and bio wheels.  These should be replaced only if your old ones are broken.

To further help the beneficial bacteria have a chance to build up before the eggs arrive, you could leave your filters running over the break, but after testing, turn the chiller off until you return in January.

It will be required for you to release you salmon this year into the body of water indicated on the WDFW permit which we will bring each of you.  You will then report the date of your release and the number of fish released to us as usual.  You do not need to report the number of hours spent this year.

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Salmon in the Classroom

Check out our Salmon in the Classroom information pages listed under our “Curriculum/Information” link above.  Bookmark this site so the information you need is available 24/7.

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ALEA Grant

YBEEP is the recipient of a Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife ALEA Grant to repair salmon chillers and purchase filter media and water conditioner for Yakima & Kittitas County Salmon in the Classroom participants.
If you have a chiller that needs repair, or if you have not responded to our query about what kind of filter unit you have, please notify us ASAP.

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2011 Salmon spawning field trip summary

1281 students, 54 teachers, and 199 members of the public participated in YBEEP led spring Chinook and sockeye salmon spawning field trips on the Cle Elum River during September and October 2011, over a period of 18 days.

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Digging a redd – an astounding gravel moving operation!

In the banner photo above, a female spring Chinook salmon is digging a depression in the 2-4 inch gravel in the riverbed with her tail.  She will then deposit some of her eggs in this depression, move above it, & dig again covering the eggs in the first depression with the gravel she displaces.  She repeats this process 5 to 7 times until she has dug up an area measuring 20 feet long by 10 feet wide and over 1 foot deep.  In all, the gravel she displaces with her tail would fill a dump truck.  When finished 3,000-5,000 eggs will be buried in the gravel in the bottom of the riverbed.  The female will defend this nest area or redd for as long as her strength lasts against other females digging it up, and then she will die.

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