Magazine article American Forests

Step by Step

Magazine article American Forests

Step by Step

Article excerpt

Salmon are a sacred symbol in the Pacific Northwest, and everywhere in the region people are plunging into restoration projects to save them from extinction. Schools are adopting streams. Volunteers are planting trees through programs like AMERICAN FORESTS' Global ReLeaf 2000. Pulp and paper mill workers are raising and releasing salmon fry.

In the Columbia River basin, the effort to save salmon has cost $3 billion since 1981. But salmon populations continue to plummet.

"We're putting Bandaids on cardiac patients," warns Charles Dewberry, a stream restoration expert who works with the Pacific Rivers Council in Florence, Oregon. Dewberry says it will take a systematic approach to restore the "critical functions" of rivers and streams. Putting structures in streams and raising fish in hatcheries are "emergency measures to buy you time for real measure to kick in," says Dewberry.

Most important is to "understand your basin," he says. One prescription will not work everywhere. But there are three common steps that must be taken:

1. Identify existing old-growth and fish hot spots. "Hang on to those good areas," says Dewberry. "If you don't protect what's intact and functioning, you'll be losing ground. …

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