The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) started Salmon in the Classroom in 1991 as a staffed line item in its budget. WDFW continued this program through 2012 when budget cuts led to the decision to limit the State’s participation to issuing permits
A coalition of educators, agency staff members, and environmental advocates formed the “Salmon Education Alliance” to administer the program throughout King County and some schools in adjacent counties. At that time, the name “Salmon in the Schools” began to encourage tank placement so the entire school could at least be Aware of the annual project.
Members of the leadership team represented Seattle Public Utilities, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH), and the Fauntleroy Watershed Council. FISH was fiscal agent for the program and provided administrative services.
Area coordinators throughout this region worked directly with teachers, from securing eggs to assisting with releases in local creeks and Lake Washington. Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks and Recreation funded a technical specialist who, along with a technical volunteer and area coordinators, provided timely troubleshooting of equipment problems and helped new teachers and school volunteers gain confidence in managing their tanks.
Toward the end of the 2015-16 school year, two factors led the leadership team to decide to separate program administration geographically. One reason for this change was the FISH board’s decision to scale back its role. The other was that, despite our best efforts, the only secure program funding has been from Seattle Public Utilities and Federal Way Surface Water Management, which annually budget for water-quality/stewardship education.
Current configuration of the previous SEA area is divided into six areas with different funding models.