Resilient Salmon To Likely Benefit From Wildfires, Collapsed Trees

Oct 21, 2020

While the destructive wildfires burned forests and towns this year, they will likely benefit fish, namely salmon.

Salmon in Pacific Northwest habitat.
Credit NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr.com/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Salmon arm, BC, Canada.
Credit Marco Tjokro / Unsplash

Lisa Ellsworth is an assistant professor at Oregon State University, whose specialties include habitat ecology. In a recent media event on wildfires, she explained how riparian areas – including those near Talent and Phoenix – will face erosion issues. However…

“...there’s going to be a period of time before the hardwoods start to regrow, where extreme temperatures will be elevated which isn’t great for salmon," said Ellsworth.

"But as the dead trees start coming down, it’s actually a benefit to salmon. They need those large wood structures in a streambed. But right now, that space in time is less ideal habitat but in the long turn it’s actually going to be more beneficial.”

The USDA and U.S. Forest Service also say fire-killed trees benefit salmon, by slowing the water and providing cold water and protection from predators.

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