Old Christmas trees provide habitat for juvenile salmon

The Wetlands Conservancy teams up with local fishing groups and ODFW to help juvenile salmon and steelhead.

Toledo, Oregon- 2/22/2015

After a record breaking year for salmon returns, local fishermen from the U-Da-Man and Longview Hills Fishing Clubs teamed up with The Wetlands Conservancy and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in hopes of continuing the recent success of Oregon’s favorite fish. On a cool Sunday morning over 20 volunteers gathered at Canyon Creek Quarry boat launch in Toledo to prepare nearly 200 Christmas trees for their final resting place, the Yaquina River. Using drift boats at low tide, volunteers secured Christmas trees along the banks and in the recently restored tidal channels of the river.

In its second year, this project seeks to create more habitat for Coho, Chinook, and Steelhead smolt as they leave the shelter of small tributaries and side channels and head downstream. This is a particularly important, if not dangerous, time in their lifespan as they attempt to bulk up by feeding in the fertile waters of the Yaquina estuary, all while trying to avoid larger predators. “We are particularly concerned about the predation by cormorants and other predators on the tiny smolt and we are trying to give them a spot to hide”, explained Tom Simpson of U-Da-Man.  Fortunately, Christmas trees have been shown to provide the necessary shelter from predators and a place for the tiny salmon to rest before heading out to sea.  As the tide returned, the trees were swallowed by the brackish water, the volunteers celebrated another successful event over pizza and garlic rolls.

For more information on the project or to get involved email The Wetlands Conservancy at info@wetlandsconservancy.org.

 

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