Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Video: Coho Swimming In Sunken Christmas Trees

Ecotrope | Aug. 27, 2012 4:12 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:30 p.m.

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I’m on an underwater video kick. Wetlands consultant Doug Ray of Carex Consulting pointed me to this video of young coho swimming through submerged Christmas trees in the Necanicum River near Seaside.

It’s a great follow-up to the story I’ve been writing about since December. It started with Christmas tree donations from people and Christmas tree farms in the Portland area. Then, last month, a team of fish enthusiasts strung the trees together and sunk them into the Necanicum River to create fish habitat.

Nine days later, one of the project volunteers, Herb Thompson of Thompson Family Enterprises Inc., took this underwater video showing lots of little coho hanging out in the branches of the sunken trees.

As Ray told me late last year, the branches and needles from Christmas trees provide food and shelter for young coho.

“This is a missing element that’s fundamentally critical to supporting salmon,” he said. “A couple hundred Christmas trees might not seem like much. But in the right stream, they become the main biological drivers in the food web process to support salmon. Some dried-up old Christmas tree has exponential importance biologically. There’s no input of that material in the system anymore. You have to put it there.”

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