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Christmas trees helping native fish


02/09/2016 – J. W. Snyder – Northwest Fishing News (NWFN)

 

ROSEBURG, Ore – The holiday season may be over, but Douglas County’s fish are just getting their gifts. December’s used Christmas trees were recently placed in East Fork Rock Creek and Buck Creek to enhance fish habitat.

“We put the Christmas trees in streams that already have large woody debris habitat restoration structures. The decomposing needles put nutrients in the streams, providing food for micro-organisms that in turn feed juvenile salmon,” said Evan Leonetti, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife STEP biologist.

Leonetti worked with the Coastal Conservation Association’s Steve Godin and Phoenix School’s Thomas McGregor to coordinate the project. Students with Phoenix School in Roseburg placed trees in East Fork Rock Creek while Reedsport Community Charter School students worked on Buck Creek.

Students from both schools get work experience while learning about fish biology and stream ecology. McGregor said these types of projects create meaningful opportunities for the students while enhancing local communities.

Willing landowners were also an integral part of the process. Seneca Timber and Roseburg (formerly Roseburg Forest Products) have been working with ODFW for years and again partnered to help restore fish habitat.

This annual project is a win-win for everyone.

“The public has a free place to get rid of their Christmas trees, the kids get unique learning and work experience, and our native fish have better habitat, said Leonetti.