Devote a day to the great NW salmon
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:19 PM
"In the words of a popular T-shirt: Spawn 'Til You Die.Local salmon are anxious to do just that, biding their time until late-autumn rains show up to swell the flow of six Bainbridge Island streams, so they can spread a little coho mojo.We're just waiting for enough water for them to get upstream and do their thing, biologist Wayne Daley told us this week, with frisky fish now jumping in Fletcher Bay and other locations.It's hard to imagine an icon more central to the cultural fabric of the Puget Sound area than the salmon. Yet politics and self-interest continue to impede efforts to protect the already-endangered chinook, and their threatened coho cousins. This fall, the races for two Kitsap County Commission posts were largely defined by anger over the county's response to federal mandates for protection and restoration of habitat areas. Property rights advocates and commercial fishermen blame each other for the salmon's decline; both bear some blame, and the burden of recovery. Now Gov. Gary Locke has declared this coming Wednesday, Nov. 15, to be Salmon Day in the Pacific Northwest. Co-sponsoring are the conservation group People For Salmon and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The groups hope teachers, parents, businesses and community leaders will take a few moments during the day to discuss their role in the protection and recovery of these amazing - and to some, sacred - fish.Educational materials including the Salmon Day Pledge are available online at www.peopleforsalmon.org. Teachers not too locked into their lesson plans next week may find some useful items for their students, and there are plenty of ideas out there for the rest of us, including sound land-use practices.Wednesday's event will be marked by dedication of the new Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail near Shelton, completing a four-year restoration project. And thanks to the efforts of many Bainbridge volunteers, there are opportunities closer to home. If you want to see salmon moving upstream here, hike over to Fletcher Bay Road, just west of Island Center, and look over the edge of the roadway into Springridge Brook. Coho mojo!As Daley notes, the debate over salmon recovery must move beyond go away, leave me alone, and let me do whatever I want with my land. We agree. History has given us the chance to decide for ourselves whether the Puget Sound area will enjoy the magnificence of salmon runs even a decade or two from now.Or whether we'll keep pulling the thread, and watching the whole ecosystem unravel.Give it some thought next Wednesday and beyond. Those salmon have some spawning to do, and they're counting on us to turn down the sheets and fluff the pillows. "