Volunteers wade through salmon carcasses to gauge health of fish population

4:18 PM, Oct 16, 2013   |    comments
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BELFAIR, Washington (KING) -- Dave Kangiser is up to his chest in Washington's Tahuya River, fighting the current and stepping over logs to get to a carcass.

"Yeah, we're going to sample this fish," he said to co-worker Seth Elson.

Just as he was using a stick to retrieve the spawned out chum, he jumped and shouted, "Oh there he goes, did you see that!"

Kanginser, a biologist with the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, had just stepped on a very healthy coho salmon hiding in the stream. It's a good example of why the health of the Tahuya is so important. It is a spawning river for several species of fish. By counting and sampling the dead salmon in and around the river, the group can provide a census for fish managers.

The group conducts carcass surveys on rivers and streams feeding the Hood Canal, which has been suffering steady losses in salmon numbers. Several factors are blamed: leaking septic tanks, runoff from waterfront homes, yards, roads and warming water temperatures.

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