Salmon and Trout Go to School



What is a Watershed?

Read: "What is a Watershed" section in Circles & Cycles before you begin. Activities are available in Circles & Cycles

Role of USFWS, water cycle; watershed definition and concepts (surface water, groundwater, where water flows, delineating watersheds, stream order, how water connects people, wildlife, and “mountains to the sea”) SITE VISIT #1 – Student Orientation: introduction to watershed concepts
November What else is in a watershed? Introduction to hatcheries; living things depend on water;  watery habitats (uplands, wetlands, lakes, rivers, estuaries, oceans, riparian zones); river forms (geomorphology, parts of a river, instream habitats)

FIELD TRIP – Students visit a salmon hatchery or other location for spawning demonstration

* see note

December Aquatic Ecosystems Energy sources; food chains and webs; predator-prey relationships; biodiversity = stability; survival strategies; examples of aquatic organisms.  

Pacific salmon natural history

Incubation of a “salmon family”
Pacific salmon characteristics (physical, behavioral, natural history); anadromous fish life cycles; incubator as temporary/artificial habitat; incubator operation.

SITE VISIT #2 – Presentation about Pacific salmon life cycle and incubator operation; salmon egg delivery

NOTE: Facilitator sets up incubator about one week prior to date of presentation
February Rivers: For people too Settlement patterns, historical uses in California (pre-European settlement, industrialization); present day uses (drinking water, hydropower, industry, waste disposal, irrigation, recreation, nature study)  
March Human threats and impacts on a watershed Sources of pollution: non-point vs. point (siltation, run-off, septic, agricultural, acid rain, etc.); altering flow, temperature, and composition of stream bed; impacts on salmon (dams, over fishing, and pollution); other threats, including ENDANGERED SPECIES FRY STOCKING FIELD TRIP: Students visit a local stream to release their salmon family
April Water Quality Monitoring Finding out about water by looking at physical characteristics (temp, depth, width, flow, turbidity): chemical characteristics (DO, pH); bio-indicators of water quality (macro invertebrates, mussels, salmon)  
May Taking Action Citizen stewardship actions (kids AND adults), professional stewards (environmental careers); role of government (legislation (ESA, etc.), habitat acquisition/protection (refuges), recovery efforts, environmental cleanup; values/benefits of a healthy environment (ecological, recreation, economic, aesthetic, philosophical) SITE VISIT #3: Sport fishing demonstration

*Note: Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery: 209-759-3383
Please call the Hatchery for spawning dates. The prime time for viewing salmon coming up river is mid-November to mid-December.
January: Salmon egg delivery