Secretary of Interior visits Sammamish
May 2, 2014
New: May 2, 11:14 a.m.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined local conservation leaders April 25 to announce that Lake Sammamish has been chosen as one of eight pilot partnerships nationwide under the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative.
The partnership will help connect people in the Seattle metro-area to the great outdoors and, in particular, efforts to restore kokanee salmon runs in the Lake Sammamish Watershed.
“Children have become increasingly disconnected from nature,” Jewell said. “The Lake Sammamish Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership seeks to reverse this trend by providing meaningful opportunities for urban residents in the region, especially young people, to get outdoors and engage in hands-on learning and conservation of kokanee salmon and its habitat.”
To celebrate the partnership, elementary school students from Campbell Hill Elementary School, in Renton, released kokanee salmon fry into Ebright Creek, an annual event sponsored by the Kokanee Work Group.
The partnership, which has its roots in the Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group, is planning to provide classroom education for youth about the efforts to restore declining kokanee salmon runs. The partnership will also conduct field trips to tour fish hatcheries and important habitat for the fish, with a focus on how both the fish and people depend upon a healthy watershed to flourish. The partnership will work with other conservation groups to leverage existing conservation work and outreach into broader efforts to benefit the Seattle metro-area.
The partnership was first announced in September as the Urban Presence Partnership. At that time, Sammamish was one of only two locations nationwide to earn the distinction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has budgeted $30,000 to help developing the interpretive plan for Lake Sammamish. The actual start of the program depends on finding funding from other partners.