Willow Creek Salmon and Watershed Education Center

The Willow Creek Salmon and Watershed Education Center (WCSWEC), previously known as the Willow Creek Hatchery, has raised and released salmon for over four decades. Originally run by the Laebugten Chapter of Trout Unlimited, this unique space in the Edmonds community has provided ample opportunities for participating in salmon recovery through volunteering. In 2017, the Laebugten Chapter invited Sound Salmon Solutions to take over the responsibility of running the facility.

Sound Salmon Solutions (SSS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to connect you with our watersheds for the future of salmon. SSS provides educational experiences at WCSWEC for all ages about salmon, their life cycle, and their interdependent relationship with humans in the watersheds we share. SSS is able to educate thanks to donations, grants, and fees for service funded programs.

The WCSWEC, located on 95 Pine Street in Edmonds, features a classroom, an educational micro-hatchery for local coho salmon rearing and release, and outdoor learning space along Willow Creek. Although the facility is run by Brooke Skowyra, Hatchery Program Manager, Sound Salmon Solutions still relies on volunteers for a successful salmon rearing season. Each year, 80,000 coho salmon are raised at the hatchery and released into 4 local streams: Willow Creek, Shell Creek, Swamp Creek, and North Creek. Volunteers support the program by assisting with placing the coho eggs into the egg trays, transferring the alevin to the rearing troughs, cleaning the rearing pond, feeding the fry, and preparing the coho fry for transport to the streams. The volunteer endorsement is the key to success of this decades-long operation!

 

In the last year, the facility has undergone some major upgrades. The rearing pond fence and predator net kept both the salmon and visitors safe for over 30 years, but it was time for an enhancement! Volunteers came together and put all hands on deck to raise the new predator net and stretch it over the rearing pond fence. In the Spring, an Eagle Scout project was completed on the Willow Creek trails. The Eagle Scout and his troop mulched the walking trails, enhanced the small bridge that connects the trails over the creek, and helped plant some native trees. In 2019, there were 250 native species planted around the facility and near the creek to restore the area. The hatchery was also given a weatherproof painting of salmon and all the threats they face due to urbanization thanks to the art department at Edmonds Woodway High School.

If you’re in the area of Snohomish County and would like to aid in salmon recovery, email brooke@soundsalmonsolutions.org or check out our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/WCSWEC/  for volunteer event dates! If you’re interested in supporting the hatchery and salmon recovery, you can donate at: www.soundsalmonsolutions.org/laebugten