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Salmon Crossing the Road

Have you ever seen fish block traffic? Such phenomenon is not unusual in Washington

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From time to time, wildlife crossings happen in the Evergreen State. However, the animals blocking traffic typically are not fish. The only exception is shimmering chum salmon. Every year around mid-to-late November, salmon traffic jams are seen in Mason County, southwest of Seattle.

After three to four years spent in the Pacific Ocean, salmon returns to their natal river to reproduce. The fish typically spawns in creeks of the Skokomish River. But due to heavy rains, the river swells, flooding the nearby roads, and cheats hundreds of salmon into going off course.

One of the sites that yearly experiences such scenes is Skokomish Valley Road, located only 5 mi (8 km) off the Skokomish River. The quiet road which typically sees an occasional car passing by is hardly recognizable during the salmon frenzy race upstream. Besides, you can occasionally behold salmon swimming across the US Highway 101 in Shelton or any flooded roadway in the area.

The spectacle might seem amusing at first sight, but not to salmon. The lucky fish will get back into the creek on the other side of the road, while most will be stranded. Some will flop to death, while others will become a feast for a passing raccoon or hawk. Hopefully, a way to help these salmon will eventually be found.

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Last updated: by Olha Savych