Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When trees fly...

Q: So where have I been?
A: Oregon.
Q: Doing what?
A: Building "high-quality overwintering habitat" for coho salmon which were listed as "threatened" species in 2008.
Q: What?
A: Have you heard about the ARRA? How about the Economic Stimulus Package signed by Obama in 2009? I like to think of it as the modern-day WPA and if you have driven across America lately you understand why. All across our wide nation are men and machines toiling away on highway and bridge projects being brought to you by the ARRA.

In our little neck of the woods up Canal Creek we just flew 312 massive fir trees via chinook helicopter (no relation to the fish) which strategically placed them in designed structures across the creek to build coho habitat. Functioning rather like larger, more expensive beaver dams, these structures will create "stream complexity" and deep pools where the wee ones can hang out for a year or so without being eaten or flushed out by heavy winter rains before they are ready to make the transition to bigger and better and brackish and saltier waterways.

If you have never seen a 23K lb. tree fly, believe me when i tell you that it is a sight to see. We only managed to get a portion of the 1000 trees planned for four different waterways before the rains began and the fish moved upstream but we will hopefully continue where we left off next year flying trees and spending almost a cool million ARRA dollars. I thank you, America, and you, President Obama, and the coho do too.

Here is another photo from my trip. And no, these are not coho, these are chinook. This is Andy and I celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary by catching the first legal salmon of his life. (You will have to ask him about the others.) IN the two weeks I was there, we went to an 18-year-old birthday party, a 50th wedding anniversary, the Governor's Gold Awards in Portland, the laundromat (where I folded my clothes while eavesdropping on an interesting conversation about channel catfish in Arkansas), the pool, and Target where I erroneously got in the 10-item lane with over $300 of stuff (including a tropical-scented deodorant that I think I bought after smelling way too many because it reminded me of Costa Rica but ultimately made me walk around smelling like a bad candle) and where I instantly made several new enemies in Eugene, Oregon. Lo siento.

I got my hair cut, co-hosted our monthly writing workshop featuring my favorite pen pal and funny tween author Dale Basye and a Conversation Project for our town to help decide what Waldport wants to be when it grows up. I opened my first business checking account for my first business--Coho Consulting--and ate the best chocolate creme brulee EVER at Panache in Newport, don't miss it. We had dinner with friends at their house and at our yurt and in general had fun playing yurt without the kids around and ate so much salmon I am afraid I am now, absolutely, part fish. We saw a dead stellar sea lion on the beach, purportedly from leptospirosis, and I came upon a smaller California sea lion resting at the tide line who looked very hungry. Hopefully he will have more salmon to eat soon.


1 comment:

  1. the salmon in the pacific northwest are absolutely delicious, and my guide when i went white water rafting this summer taught my group a really cool way to remember the five most common types of salmon in that area using your five fingers (mostly by their colloquial names):
    the pinkie - pink salmon
    ring finger - silver salmon (rings are made of silver)
    middle finger - king salmon (its the biggest)
    pointer finger - sockeye salmon (on the 3 stooges they poke each other in the eye with the pointer finger)
    and thumb - chum salmon (rhymes)