So long and thanks for all the fish!

Photo from Bernie Pobiak.

This post originally appeared on Places and Platypie. Bloggers Peg Callihan and Bernie Pobiak share their experience rearing salmon at Green Lake National Fish Hatchery.

For months I tried to imagine what it would be like to leave the hatchery, to say good bye to the almost one million babies that I had cared for since they were just fry, less than an inch long. When I left last week, the salmon that would be remaining in the pools through the winter were as long as 7 inches. Big kids!

For weeks, in preparation for setting free the smaller parr, we had been hand feeding the young salmon three times a day alongside the 100 pound mechanical food dispersers that fling food off and on all day long.

Photo from Bernie Pobiak.

Photo from Bernie Pobiak.

The threat of a government shut down loomed increasingly large over everyone’s head. As we fed, the tempo of grading and separating the fish for distribution increased with each passing day. Could everything that needed to be done to save the fish be accomplished in time?

Every day tanker trucks filled with tens of thousands of parr drove north to place the young fish into their home river streams to grow. Setting free the smaller parr: At release, thousands of young fish travel down a pipe from the tanks and enter a  shallow, gravely stream. Out of the rushing water they leap and fly…up into the sun. All around, autumn leaves shine scarlet and gold through the evergreens. Time for things to end. They have come home to a place they do not know, but will always remember. Carefully created by the fishery biologists, their genes know they have arrived. …Read the rest at their blog!

Photo from Bernie Pobiak.

Photo from Bernie Pobiak.

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