Fall has come and it means that the weather will cool and the nature will change its color. But for Renton and the Cedar River in particularly fall means the return of salmon. Thousands of fish will make their way to the Cedar River.
The Cedar River provides natural surrounding for a variety of wildlife. The river provides habitat for anadromous fish such as Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, Sockeye salmon, and Steelhead trout. Cedar River Chinook salmon is currently listed as threatened. The Cedar River is where the largest run of sockeye salmon in the lower 48 states begins.
It should be said that in 2003 a fish passage at Landsburg Dam facility on the Cedar River was installed and it opened a lot of opportunities for Chinook and Coho salmon. Originally this Dam was used to divert drinking water for Seattle residents and didn’t give the possibility for Chinook and Coho salmon and steelhead trout to return and to spawn.
Chinook and Coho salmon have a fascinating life cycle. Like all salmonids they have an anadromous life cycle. This means that they spend part of their life in fresh water and part in salt water.
The life cycle of a fish begins when young salmon hatches from eggs that are found in the gravel of the streams. Then salmon migrates to the ocean where they grow and become adults. And later they begin their return to the native streams where they spawn. Once they return to fresh water, they stop eating, their backs become humped and their jaws hooked and they die. Dead salmon soon litter the shallows and become food for birds and other animals. And then the cycle continues.
To learn about the journey that happens every year you can in different places, but most spectacular is at Cedar River Park. Trained group of volunteers will tell visitors and guests about the history of the Cedar River Salmon Journey, they will tell about the life cycle of the salmon and about the needs of the wildlife.
At Cedar River Park visitors will have the opportunity to see sockeye salmon that are removed from the hatchery.
Directions to the park:
From I-405 South:
Take Exit 4 (Maple Valley exit) on to Sunset Boulevard NE. Go left at the second signal light, which is Maple Valley Highway/Highway 169. Get into the right lane, travel a short distance and turn right into Cedar River Park.
From I-405 North:
Take Exit 4A (Renton/Maple Valley exit). Turn right at the end of the exit onto Maple Valley Highway/Highway 169. Get into the right lane, travel a short distance and turn right into Cedar River Park.
Cedar River Park: 1717 Maple Valley Hwy
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