Chinook Salmon Finally Back in Olympic National Park

Written by on September 6, 2012 in Marine Life, Physical Oceanography
Elwha dam. Photo Credit: Henry Meyer, National Park Service

Elwha dam. Photo Credit: Henry Meyer, National Park Service

Adult Chinook (king) salmon were spotted in Olympic National Park for the first time late last month.

These are the first salmon to naturally migrate into the park since the Elwha Dam became operational back in 1913.  The dam was removed as a part of the Elwha River Restoration project less than five months ago.

Chinook salmon, like all salmon, are born in freshwater streams, migrate to the marine environment for the majority of the lifespan and then migrate back to their original stream to mate.  They are also referred to as King salmon because they are the largest salmon sepcies–adults often exceed 40 pounds.

“Observation of these Chinook in Olympic National Park is a wonderful addition to the naturally returning steelhead recently observed by NOAA Fisheries and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe downstream of the park boundary,” said Olympic National Park Fisheries Biologist, Sam Brenkman.  “We can now say that restoration of anadromous salmon in Olympic National Park is underway.”

You can read more from the National Park Service here: Return of the Kings.

Chinook salmon. Photo Credit U.S. Geological Survey.

Chinook salmon. Photo Credit U.S. Geological Survey.

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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