Photo: Michael Ellis
by Randy Scholfield
Across the country, old Christmas trees are being regifted to benefit fisheries. A good example: Portland Oregonian columnist Bill Monroe recently highlighted the effort by TU's Tualatin chapter to collect used Christmas trees and repurpose them as habitat for baby salmon and steelhead on coastal rivers.
The donation drive, called Cohoho--now in its third year--is asking residents to donate their Christmas trees the next few weekends in January. Then, in late spring, TU volunteers will place many of the trees along the Necanicum River on the coast, in marshes and beaver ponds and other backwater areas that provide shelter for young salmon and steehead. As the water drops in late spring, the trees will provide critical habitat at various stages for salmon and steelead.
As Monroe notes, "Trees do double and triple duty, First, they provide shade and shelter, helping keep the water cool and protect the fish from predators such as mergansers. Later, as the branches decay, they become hosts for all sorts of waterborne organisms providing the base of an important food chain."
He adds, Christmas trees are a "gift that can keep on giving" for salmon and steelhead--and anglers.
Randy Scholfield is communications director for TU's Western Water Project.