News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Salmon Watch program seeks volunteers

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

A Marion County program that introduces school groups to life cycles and history of salmon is seeking volunteers for its fall trips.

Salmon Watch officials and volunteers introduce students to local watersheds and salmon issues in a 4-hour field trip at Packsaddle County Park between Mill City and Gates. Packsaddle is a known spawning ground of spring Chinook salmon on the North Santiam River.

Volunteers will supervise at one of four field stations on the trips: 

Salmon biology: Help students understand what they are seeing as the salmon build redds and fight for position, discuss the salmon life cycle and help students understand salmon’s cultural importance.

Macroinvertebrates: Students wade into the river to explore and collect these marvelous indicators of water quality.

Water quality: Use tools and chemistry to test dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and turbidity. 

Riparian ecology: Students are introduced to the connections between healthy riparian areas and healthy in-stream habitats.

A total of 12 field trips are planned between Sept. 20 and Oct. 13, with a 72 volunteer slots to be filled in.

Volunteers will be trained at a 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. session Aug. 25. To sign up for one or more of the sessions go to

“Anyone is welcome to volunteer for Salmon Watch,”said Heith Keirstead, who is coordinating the program for the Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District. “All you need is a love for salmon and their habitats and a desire to spark that love in students! Don’t know much about salmon? Don’t worry! We will provide training.”

For more information on the program email [email protected] or call 503-391-9927.

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