Ever since Summer Chum were listed as threatened by the Endangered Species Act in 2000, community volunteers, student interns and HCSEG staff have monitored the return of Summer Chum on the Union River. We install a fish trap in mid-August and remove it mid-October, and the trap is operated 24/7 by volunteers.
The Union River is the only large spawning aggregation in the south Hood Canal and on the Kitsap Peninsula. It is very important for us to know the abundance, productivity, and survival rates of Union River chum so we can compare it to other watersheds – which may not be as stable or healthy. This will help us determine what steps to take, (such as habitat restoration projects), in other watersheds to further Summer Chum recovery.
In this past 2020 season we had 1,777 Summer Chum, 352 Coho and 14 Chinook return to the Union River during the trap’s operation. Despite the many challenges our community faced this year due to COVID-19, we received the highest level of volunteer participation to date at the trap this summer.