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Fundraiser Held to Save the Endangered Lake Sammamish Kokanee Salmon

Issaquah, WA, February 25, 2012 --( Friday, March 23rd at 6:00 pm Coho Café Catering and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery will take a step in the direction of protecting the Lake Sammamish kokanee. Kokanee S.O.S. (“Save Our Salmon”) an evening of fundraising, delectable tastes, musical entertainment, and information about the kokanee will be held at the Watershed Science Center in the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. Coho Café Catering is the new catering extension of the popular Issaquah Restaurant and will showcase its menu and service at the event. All proceeds raised through ticket sales and during the evening’s silent fine-wine auction will directly benefit the Kokanee Supplementation Program.

Native Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon are on the brink of extinction. The number of salmon returning to native streams has dwindled to fewer than 1,000 in recent years, down from historical reports of returns in the many thousands. To keep the species viable the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery are collaborating to implement an emergency hatchery supplementation program. Kokanee eggs are collected from female salmon, fertilized, then hatched and raised at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery until they can be released in their home creeks. This costly and labor intensive recovery effort is essentially life support for the Lake Sammamish kokanee. Given the current economic climate, the kokanee supplementation effort is on a very limited budget. In order for the Lake Sammamish kokanee to make a full recovery, a tremendous amount of additional community support and community education is necessary.

“This possible extinction is literally happening right in our own backyard and if a community as educated and affluent as King County cannot turn this critical situation around, then I’m not sure there is hope for any people to protect a dwindling and important resource,” says Heather VanDorn, catering manager at Coho Café. “I have a tremendous amount of faith in our community and know that with a bit of education and a lot of care, we have the ability to protect the Lake Sammamish kokanee from extinction.”

“This salmon population is a unique and historical community asset, and it will live or die by the care of the community. We are always searching for ways to grow the contributions of local people and businesses in support of our conservation mission. We’ve been successful with several early actions and want more people to share in new, bigger successes,” said David St. John, coordinator and chair of the collaborative Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group.

Peter Cummings, General Manager of Coho Café states “It is our hope that this benefit will be the impetus for others in the community to get involved in this cause and act to make a difference in the future of the Lake Sammamish kokanee.”

Tickets to the event are available at the Coho Café or by phone at 425-391-4040.

Contact Information
Coho Cafe
Heather M. VanDorn

Jane Kuechle, F.I.S.H. (425) 392-1118

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