Spring is here, and fish are on the move. Young fall-run Chinook salmon that hatched in Central Valley streams this winter are making their hazard-filled journey toward the ocean. Meanwhile, adult spring-run salmon are making that same epic trek in reverse, returning to local watersheds to lay their eggs. These waterways include Butte Creek, which supports the largest naturally spawning spring-run population in the Central Valley, and, on occasion, Big Chico Creek, which welcomed over a dozen spring-run salmon last year. Big Chico Creek is not only a beautiful city waterway, it’s an important fish habitat in need of study, as we described in last week’s Fish Report. We were happy to see KRCR 7 News report on our efforts to end a decade-long research gap of the creek’s resident fish populations. You can download our final survey report here and watch the news coverage here.
Big Chico Creek is home to a variety of fish, including threatened salmon and steelhead, and is also a special place for many Chico residents. To help celebrate the importance of the creek and its fish to the Chico community, FISHBIO is hosting the 5K Salmon Run in Bidwell Park for the second year running on Saturday May 2nd. Since spring is a great time for people to get moving along with the fish, we’re adopting a “Spring-Run” theme for this year’s family-friendly event. The Salmon Run will cover a scenic 5-km (3.1-mile) loop through Bidwell Park along Big Chico Creek. Check-in begins at Sycamore Field in 1-Mile Recreation Area at 7:45 a.m., and the run/walk will start at 8:30 a.m. Registration is $25 for adults and $20 for those 18 and under. Participants can register online, at FISHBIO’s office at 180 East 4th Street, Suite 160, or on site the morning of the race. Prizes will be awarded to the fastest runners in a range of categories, and activities for kids will take place throughout the morning.
Our staff had a great time welcoming participants of all ages and fitness levels to run, jog, or stroll through the shady park last year, and are looking forward to this year’s event! This year should be even more exiting, as the Salmon Run kicks off a day of events at the Endangered Species Faire hosted by the Butte Environmental Council. In preparation for the occasion, FISHBIO staff recently visited Chapman and Parkview elementary schools in Chico to present lessons on rivers and fish as part of our Three Rivers Education Program. FISHBIO staff also helped students create fish puppets for the Faire’s Procession of the Species, including a slightly-larger-than-life Mekong Giant Catfish inspired by FISHBIO’s international work in Laos. We hope you can join us for this fun day in the park – and maybe even a dip in the creek!