Survive the Sound
May 3 - 7, 2021
Welcome to rainbow's blog!
Hey there! I'm Rainbow, and your community voted for me to be the spokesfish for Team #Bothell during this year's Survive the Sound race!
What's Survive the Sound, you ask? It's an interactive online game that uses real steelhead tracking data. It lets you follow my friends and me as we try to migrate through the Puget Sound and make it all the way to the Pacific Ocean without becoming someone's lunch or meeting our demise some other way!
Statistically, only 20% of us juvenile salmon survive this migration. It's just me and 47 other fish in this race...who's your pick to win? I sure hope I have what it takes! Follow me here on my blog May 3 - 7 to find out how my friends and I are doing. You can also find lots of information about our journey at www.survivethesound.org.
My home watershed
Here are some of my best friends that are racing with me. Please root for all of us!
Are you ready to find out whether I'll "Survive the Sound?" I'll blog about my journey each day of the race from May 3 - 7 and will include daily videos, vocabulary, quizzes, and more fun stuff!
Wish me luck, and check my blog again starting May 3 for daily updates on my progress!
Survive the Sound is provided by Long Live the Kings, a local organization whose goals include implementing solutions to rebuild salmon and steelhead populations in Hood Canal and Puget Sound, unraveling the mystery of low salmon survival in the Salish Sea, advancing science, and retooling management throughout the Pacific Northwest.
All fish in the race
Made it through the Duwamish!
Day 1 Vocabulary
Anadromous: Fish born in freshwater who spend most of their lives in saltwater and return to freshwater to spawn.
Estuary: Simply put, it's an area where fresh water and salt water meet and mix. The mixing of fresh water and salt water provide high levels of nutrients, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world. Healthy estuaries are critical to supporting healthy fish populations.
Salmonid: Any fish that belongs to the Salmonidae family (like me!), including the salmons, trouts, chars, and whitefishes.
Day 1 videos
Today let's learn about the different types of Pacific salmonids, and let's learn the difference between salmon and steelhead.
Day 1 Quiz
What benefits can estuaries provide to salmonids?
a) Shelter from predators
b) Rearing habitat
d) Transition to saltwater
e) All of the above
If you answered "e," you're right! Did you know Puget Sound is the largest estuary, by water volume, in the contiguous United States?! Puget Sound encompasses many other estuaries, including large ones and small ones, found in sheltered bays, inlets, and lagoons.
about habitat restoration
Many estuaries have been extensively degraded or entirely lost due to human development. Habitat destruction has long been identified as one of the main causes of our threatened salmon and steelhead populations. In response, Washington has invested almost $1 billion in habitat restoration, completing thousands of restoration projects. Healthy estuaries are critical to supporting healthy fish populations. Habitat restoration not only helps the environment, but also provides local jobs, recreation opportunities, and improved health and safety for the surrounding community. Click to learn more about habitat restoration efforts.
Nisqually Estuary and Olympics (Photo credit: Eric Hall)
Since today is known as Star Wars Day, I was going to start off with something clever and inspiring about the Force being with me and all that jazz, but the only thing I can say right now is "It's a trap!" In a terrible and shocking turn of events, overnight I died in the Puget Sound...109 miles from the Pacific Ocean finish line.
My final resting place in Puget Sound
Where we all are in the race (green = alive, red = not alive)
Lost at sea: Sammy, Sushi, Rainbow, Willy, Eddy Gar, and Salmon Ella
Leaders Jaws, Sam Q Newsfish, The Swiss, Sea Slough, and Chinook Book Cherie
Day 2 vocabulary
day 2 video
day 2 quiz
Which of these are not a type of zooplankton?
Long Live the Kings and regional partners began a Puget Sound-wide zooplankton monitoring program in 2014 to record the composition and abundance of zooplankton in the water and to develop indicators for salmon survival. Due to their sensitivity to environmental change and critical place in the food web, they are excellent indicators of ecosystem health. The metrics developed from this data are used to evaluate impacts of a changing Puget Sound food web and provide guidance towards improved salmon harvest management and Puget Sound Stewardship. Learn more about zooplankton in Puget Sound.
Zooplankton for juvenile salmon (Photo credit: NOAA)
Even though my journey was cut short (crushing all my dreams in the process), keep checking my blog each day this week and I'll tell you how my friends are doing in the race.
Leaders Jaws, Steel(head), April, Puget Pounder, and Little Red are nearing the finish line
The living and the lost at sea
What's happening in the Duwamish River that's ending my friends' journey so soon?
day 3 vocabulary
day 3 videos
Learn about salmon habitat and salmon anatomy.
day 3 quiz
Which of these is not considered a “forage fish” of the Pacific Northwest?
about forage fish
Forage fish, such as Pacific herring, sand lance, anchovies, and surf smelt are small, silvery fish that are a good food source for larger predators such as salmon, birds, and seals. Research indicates that some forage fish populations are declining in Puget Sound due to habitat loss related to shoreline development. Without abundant forage fish, salmon may struggle to find enough food and other predators may turn to eating more Salmon. Learn more about forage fish.
Pacific herring (Photo credit: Steve - Flickr)
Jaws is soooooooooooo close to crossing the finish line…in fact, he probably already did! Last night’s tracking update placed him 25 miles from the finish line, but knowing Jaws like I do, he probably kept swimming all night long and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s celebrating his victory in the Pacific Ocean right about now. Way to go, buddy!
All fish in the race, dead or alive
Juvenile salmon that didn't make it past the Duwamish River
Dotted lines show the tracking pattern of one single fish trying to pass the Hood Canal Bridge
Day 4 vocabulary
Day 4 videos
Learn about juvenile steelhead predation and how the Hood Canal Bridge affects juvenile steelhead.
day 4 quiz
Which of these does not eat juvenile salmon?
about migration barriers
The data used in Survive the Sound, collected by Megan Moore at NOAA National Marine Fisheries Services, revealed that half of all juvenile steelhead that make it to the Hood Canal Bridge won’t make it past alive. An assessment, coordinated by Long Live the Kings, showed that the bridge is a migration barrier for steelhead, and other salmon – like Chinook and chum – are also impacted by the bridge.
Hood Canal Bridge (Photo credit: Long Live the Kings)
Partners are currently working to construct interim solutions to increase fish passage while working on a more fish-friendly bridge design. Read more about the Hood Canal Bridge project.
Seals and Rock Hood Canal (Photo credit: Hans Daubenberger, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe)
The Lucky 7!
Yikes, that's a lotta red!
Sam Q Newsfish
Day 5 vocabulary
Day 5 videos
You already know that I came from the Duwamish watershed, but take a few minutes to learn about where my friends came from - the Skokomish and Nisqually watersheds. What's similar about the watersheds? What's different? And which one do you think gives juvenile steelhead the best chance of survival?
The Skokomish River flows from the Olympic Mountains to the south end of Hood Canal, a fjord. The Skokomish Indian Tribe has lived in this area since time immemorial. Human use of this area is primarily for forestry and farming and estuary restoration efforts have been significant. Once salmonids exit the river, they must travel north and navigate around the Hood Canal floating bridge.
The Nisqually River starts at the southern slope of Mt. Rainier and flows into South Puget Sound. The Nisqually Indian Tribe has stewarded this area long before the colonization of North America and the Tribe continues to care for this land. Over 900 acres of Nisqually estuary habitat has been restored and remains protected as the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. However, Interstate 5 runs through the area posing a threat to natural habitat and creating a barrier to recovery and predators have taken advantage of some bottlenecks in the estuary.
The Duwamish River begins at the Green River in the Central Cascades Mountains and runs through the ancestral lands of the Duwamish People. Since the area’s industrialization, the lower Duwamish has become one of the most polluted rivers in the United States, its estuary is almost non-existent, and there is some disease in the system. Fortunately, the efforts from many organizations, businesses, and partnerships have made some progress on improving the area, but there is still much more work to be done. As you watch the tour, keep an eye out for Kellogg Island. This section of the Duwamish River has remained untouched over decades of development and remains a glimpse of historic estuary habitat.
day 5 quiz
Approximately what percentage of juvenile steelhead that make it to the Hood Canal Bridge will not survive past it?
About harbor seals
If a seal boom is contributing to the further decline of already-threatened salmon and steelhead populations in Puget Sound, researchers need to answer more questions to address the problem. How many seals should there be? What should they be eating? Who’s eating them, or isn’t eating them? Are there factors that make it easier for these predators to hunt salmon? While we don’t have complete answers to these questions, and continued research is absolutely critical to making thoughtful decisions, scientists’ work has uncovered some new ideas which give us options to start investing in solutions. Read more about who’s eating young salmon and steelhead.
Long Live the Kings uses “seal-packs” that help research predator-prey interactions (Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium)
Let's wrap up this year's race with a fun and easy way to remember the names of the Pacific Northwest's five iconic salmon species. Just look at your fingers!