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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Spring Chinook spawning today

We watched spring Chinook salmon spawning today in the American River at the Pleasant Valley Campground.

Spring Chinook salmon spawning 8/14/11

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Getting ready for the new school year

We are beginning to prepare for the new school year.  This blog is a new addition for 2011-2012.

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