Approximately 20,000 chinook salmon fry are scheduled to return to Swift Creek at noon on Sunday May 15, 2022. The fry were harvested as eggs in August and have spent the start of their life in the care of Spruce City Wildlife Association Salmon Support Team in Prince George. The team invites the community to come be a part of the release. /ANDREA ARNOLD

By Andrea Arnold

The Salmon Support Team from Spruce City Wildlife Association in Prince George will return to Valemount on Sun. May 15th to release close to 20,000 juvenile Chinook Salmon, according to association president Dustin Snyder. These fry were harvested from Swift Creek in the middle of August 2021, and will be released back into the same stream, as part of a rebuilding program for the endangered run.

Spruce City Wildlife says it’s common for 95 per cent of fish to survive to the fry stage in a hatchery compared to only 4-6 per cent in nature.

Salmon populations have been on the decline over the last several years. Following the landslide in 2019 at Big Bar, only one salmon was reported to have made the trip back to the Swift Creek area. As the fish have a cycle of five years, it will be a half a decade before the fry that are released on Sunday hopefully return to Swift Creek to complete their cycle and provide eggs for a new cycle to begin.

Snyder says they plan to be by the viewing platform, just down from the Valemount Visitor Info Centre, rain or shine.

“We would love community members to come out and enjoy setting these little fish free,” he said.