Learning about Salmon on the Alsea River

Looking down on small creek that feeds into the Alsea River. Photo by Ricardo Small.

By Irene Schoppy, outings leader and outings chair of the Marys Peak Group

On November 6, a group of 15 people from the Corvallis area enjoyed a November morning at Clemens Park in Benton County learning about salmon with Karen Hans, fish biologist for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Karen spent some time talking about the salmon life cycle, and describing how female salmon pick just the right spot in a river to lay their eggs.  The gravel in the stream bed needs to be just the right size, not too big and not too small.

We then hiked along the North Fork Trail, a short trail right along the Alsea River.  We were in search of salmon and our efforts paid off.  We saw a female salmon scouting out a spot along the river, but no males were in view at the time.  Karen explained the importance of streamside vegetation and the riparian corridor.

After watching the female salmon we continued on to a smaller side creek where we saw some rehabilitation work that was done a few years ago.  A large log was placed on the streamside and into the stream to help create a pool.  Downed wood in the streams and rivers are very helpful to the fish, even though it might not look clean and neat to us.

This event was so popular that there was a waiting list, and Karen was nice enough to go out with us again 2 weeks later, tailoring that outing more towards the younger generation. The Marys Peak Group of the Sierra Club has a diverse outings program, check out their calendar for upcoming outings: http://oregon.sierraclub.org/groups/marys_peak/events/

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