The City of SeaTac this week re-introduced hundreds of “baby” salmon – called fry – to the Des Moines Creek.

Once released into the wild, the fish immediately adapted to their new fresh water creek environment.

Public Works Programs Coordinator Mason Giem headed up the release. Giem transported the more than 200 salmon to the creek in a large cooler with an air pump.  Giem then released the salmon from the cooler into the creek.

Also on hand for the big release, was Mayor Erin Sitterley who gave some advice to the soon to be parr:

“Follow your curiosity, see the path ahead of you, in a minute you’ll be free, and splashing in the sea…free!”

This big release was a result of months of planning and effort. The Public Works Department spearheaded the effort as an education project for the community. In late December, a large fish tank was placed in the front lobby of the SeaTac Community Center. In January eggs, from a local hatchery, were added to the fish tank. For several months, City staff meticulously fed and raised the salmon. Educational materials surrounded the tank where the public could watch the salmon hatch and grow.

“I hope this display and salmon release causes people to think about their actions before dumping anything into stormwater drains,” said SeaTac Public Works Director William Appleton. “This project shows the strong connection between stormwater and the health of our native salmon which is one of the region’s most iconic species.”

The purpose of the salmon project was to help citizens understand everyday actions they can take that will protect salmon re-introduced to Des Moines Creek. The water from storm drains pours into local creeks such as Des Moines Creek. Some things that you can do at home to protect salmon include:

  • Only washing your car at car washes
  • Only using organic fertilizers
  • Not pouring paint or chemicals down the storm drains.

To learn more about how you can help protect salmon and the health of the Puget Sound, please visit

Photos courtesy City of SeaTac