Sunday, June 25, 2006

Zooming in on Salmon

There's a cool post on WorldChanging about salmon restoration in the Pacific Northwest. From a global perspective, salmon are just a pixel. But look closer:
Zoom in once, and you learn that the forests ringing the north Pacific glean nitrogen from marine sources — ocean-borne nutrients that the salmon brought upstream in their bodies, and then left behind when they died. Their lives nurture 137 species of wild animals, plus a 138th that scientists habitually overlook: Homo sapiens.

Look closer at the health of the salmon populations, and you can see how a host of human impacts, from hydro dams to ill-conceived hatcheries, from irrigation projects to poor stream crossings, have conspired to reduce their populations. Keep zooming in, to the solutions that people are beginning to try, and it comes down to something as prosaic as installing a better culvert or replacing flood irrigation with sprinklers.

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