Earlier this fall, about 40 students at Sunridge Middle School went on a field trip to learn about fish management in eastern Oregon. The students are enrolled in the Fisheries and Wildlife elective class taught by Science Teacher Matt Baty.
The class traveled to Three Mile Falls Dam on the Umatilla River, near Umatilla. The students were able to tour the facility and watch the fall spawning process. According to Baty, while in the fish trap, they viewed Chinook and Coho salmon as well as steelhead coming in. Staff at the dam, including Clinton Case, explained how the trap works and guided the class through the experience. “The students got to see and touch some of the biggest fish I’ve ever seen come out of the Umatilla River,” Baty said.
The students then explored the spawning part of the facility, where the staff was spawning Coho salmon and checking for any diseases. Baty said it was great because the students got front-row seats to the entire process, and everyone at the facility came by to talk with the students about the why of what they were doing.
During the last part of the tour, the group saw the runs that hold the salmon and how that operates. “The entire tour was great, and I plan on a spring tour at either this dam or McNary Dam for semester two during the Chinook run,” Baty said.