Clean Rivers Education – Resources about Salmon

Photo shows a female coho salmon with male coho in the background during spawning season in Crystal Springs Creek. Photo taken underwater.
Use these education resources to learn about salmon and other fish species that live year-round in the city's rivers and streams in various life stages — spawning, rearing, and/or migrating. Find out about the challenges they face and how we can help protect and restore fish habitat.

Local Resources


Wild Coho Spawning in Crystal Springs Creek

Watch an underwater video of Coho salmon spawning in Portland's Crystal Springs Creek. (4 min)


Salmon in Our City.  Native salmon and steelhead are found in more than 125 miles of Portland’s 300 miles of waterways. Check out which species are found in a waterway near you!

SB 13 Tribal History-Shared History Curriculum
Tribal History-Shared History (Senate Bill 13) — Passed in 2017, Senate Bill 13 directs the Oregon Department of Education to create K-12 Native American Curriculum for inclusion in Oregon public schools and provide professional development to educators. It includes place-based curriculum created by the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon. Find connections to salmon in the following lesson plans:

 Articles and Activities

  • Common tire chemical implicated in mysterious deaths of at-risk salmon. From Science Magazine (December 3, 2020) Scientists have identified a chemical that is killing coho salmon in the Pacific Northwest after rainstorms.
  • How Scientists Tracked Down a Mass Killer (of Salmon) From New York Times (December 3, 2020). Another article about the connection between a chemical found in tires and salmon die-offs in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Create Your Own Salmon Habitat – STEM Bite (3rd-4th grade lesson plan)
    STEM Bites are a project of the Oregon STEM Hub network. This lesson was adapted from a contribution by:  NOAA Fisheries, the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) Animated Arts, and the Portland Metro STEM Partnership.
  • Plant with a Purpose: Help Protect Salmon Habitat with Your Garden. An article from the National Wildlife Federation about how gardening with natives can help protect salmon whether you live by a stream or further inland.
  • The Fish Friendly Board Game –  Learn about the perilous journey salmon take from their home stream out to the ocean and back again. Start with 1,000 eggs in your redd (nest) and see what happens. Will you survive?

More Resources


There's Something Very Fishy About These Trees. (4:10) 
From PBS/KQUED's Deep Look series. Salmon make a perilous voyage upstream past hungry eagles and bears to mate in forest creeks. When the salmon die, a new journey begins – with maggots. Learn how the life cycle of salmon contributes to forest health. Also, check out the accompanying article.

Life Cycle of Pacific Salmon (5:30)
From the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and PNCA Animated Arts.

Salmon Simulation (University of Idaho)
The Salmon Sim project is a developed simulation to better understand the lifecycle, behavior, and habitat of the Alaska sockeye salmon. Players choose a fish species and run simulations, changing variables and navigating environmental hazards.