Snohomish Conservation District is hosting its fifth annual Orca Recovery Day event in partnership with the City of Marysville on Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Strawberry Field Athletic Complex.
Attendees will learn about the role they can play in protecting the Southern Resident orcas, including the benefits of trees along waterways and the impact of stormwater runoff on aquatic wildlife, specifically coho salmon.
Starting at 10 a.m., Snohomish Conservation District staff will be running multiple stations for both adults and children. Attendees can plant native trees along the Middle Fork Quilceda Creek, participate in educational youth activities, and enjoy two guided nature walks with a habitat specialist.
Gardening gloves, snacks and water will be provided. The first 50 households to register will receive a free native plant to take home.
Orca Recovery Day is a regionwide day of action created by the collective Puget Sound Conservation Districts to raise awareness for the local and endangered Southern Resident orcas.
The Southern Resident orca pod relies on salmon as their main food source to survive. Due to habitat loss, climate change, and higher levels of pollution, it has become more challenging for migrating salmon to increase their population.
Trees and shrubs along streams and rivers, called riparian buffers, support healthy oxygen levels for fish by providing shade and keeping the water cool. Riparian buffers also help filter stormwater before it pours back into the Puget Sound.
The Middle Fork Quilceda Creek is an important habitat restoration site due to the presence of coho salmon near a high-traffic area. Stormwater runoff from nearby roads contains chemicals from tire dust that are highly toxic to salmon, often killing more than half of coho before they can spawn. Riparian buffers are a crucial component to preventing coho die-off.
At Orca Recovery Day, participants will help install a riparian buffer and ensure the future health of salmon and the resident orcas. On Orca Recovery Day in October 2021, volunteers installed over 13,600 native plants across the region.
“The community can play an integral role in restoring salmon and orca populations throughout the region,” said Snohomish Conservation District Executive Director, Linda Lyshall. “Orca Recovery Day is a chance to celebrate our collective impact and ensure action is taken for generations to come.”
Visit snohomishcd.org/orca-recovery-day for more information.