The Ta’an Kwäch’än Council salmon fry release will take place this Sunday, July 13 at the Fox Creek Bridge.
The Fox Creek restoration project is a main focus of the community stewardship program. Since 2007, the project has employed two stewards on a seasonal basis. The community stewards monitor and assess salmon activity in several tributaries along the Yukon River within the Ta’an Kwäch’än traditional territory.
Last September for the first time, two Chinook Salmon spawners returned to Fox Creek. The fish who returned to the creek, which also contains wild salmon stocks provided TKC with the acknowledgment that the project is successful, affirming the expectation that 6 year-old spawners will return this year.
“Salmon have long been a mainstay of the Ta’an Kwäch’än people as Fox Creek lies in the heart of Ta’an Kwäch’än traditional territory. Poor returns of Chinook salmon in recent years emphasize the need for stock restoration projects such as this,” said Cora Lee Johns, Fish and Wildlife Steward.
The salmon survival percentage from fed fry release of 10,000, is anywhere from 35 to 350 fish. This year, 17,000 Chinook will be released into the creek. Fox Creek is a tributary to Lake Laberge, approximately 50 km north of Whitehorse. Past surveys indicate that the creek once supported a spawning population of Chinook salmon.
“As a Ta’an Kwäch’än citizen, I am passionate about protecting our land, the conservation of the Chinook salmon and the Yukon River Watershed,” said Johns.
In working toward the restoration of the Chinook, TKC is involved with a video geared towards youth, made from footage at TKC’s Culture Camp earlier that was shown in recent meetings in Alaska.
The Ta’an Kwäch’än Council began researching the feasibility of re-introducing Chinook salmon fry into Fox Creek in 2055, Field work was undertaken by TKC community stewards in preparation for stock restoration. In September 2008, eggs were collected and fertilized from adult Chinook salmon taken from the Whitehorse Rapids Fish Ladder. The fry were reared over the winter at the McIntyre Creek Incubation Facility.