Christmas Trees for Salmon – 2017
This is the third Oregon Coast Anglers Christmas Trees for Salmon Project and it was just as much a success as previous years. As Christmas Trees were being sold by the Lions Club and the Winchester Bay Market, fliers were provided informing people of the Salmon Project. Those who purchased the trees were encouraged to drop the trees at the Les Schwab parking lot, after the holidays. Donor Christmas Trees were provided by Reedsport residents and also by the North Bend Fire Department, totaling approximately one hundred and thirty trees.
The Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, along with other government agencies, requested that this year’s trees should go into Fitzpatrick Creek, where a big investment had been made in-instream large wood projects. Essentially, big trees were dropped into good locations, where high water wouldn’t dislodge them. The Christmas Trees were added to these projects to slow the water flow and advance the buildup of gravel and provide cover for juvenile salmonids.
The Elkton Charter School was engaged for support in this project due to the proximity of Fitzpatrick Creek to Elkton. A Field Trip was quickly agreed to and volunteers sought. Seven Elkton Students were ready for action on the wet morning of February 15th. The Christmas Trees were loaded in Reedsport onto four trailers and a couple of trucks. A special thanks to those OCA Members who assisted in this project; Bill Town and Connie Hastings (Bill equipped his flatbed trailer with stakes and hog pen panels to hold more trees), Jerry Noel (Jerry built a wooden rack for his truck to hold more trees), Dan Kanagy (large flatbed trailer), Rick Rockholt (utility trailer, Rick also cleaned up trees not possible to load at the Les Schwab parking lot), Steve Godin (dump trailer loaded with North Bend Fire Department trees), Steve Miller and Jerry Clark, who assisted in trailer loading.
We arrived in force at the Elkton Charter High School at 9:00 AM. After introductions and a safety briefing by Evan Leonetti, ODF&W Biologist, we headed for Fitzpatrick Creek. Fifteen minutes later, the trees were in the process of being unloaded and were being dragged to the creek. Eric Himmelreick, ODF&W Habitat Biologist, directed the students in the location and proper placement of the trees. There were multiple instream large wood placement locations for these trees. The students enthusiastically dragged and threw trees in the directions they needed to go. It wasn’t possible to stay dry or clean, the students didn’t care, they were off to the races! Before we knew it, the project was done.
We had an early lunch, which Oregon Coast Anglers provided. All the lunch supplies ($170) were purchased in Reedsport, supporting our local economy. There were plenty of sandwiches, chips, soda, water and cookies for all. We were fortunate to have Bethany Baker, Photographer for the World News, on hand to document our project. After numerous interviews and photographs, it was time to head back. Although the Oregon Coast Anglers are done with Christmas Trees for Salmon 2017, discussions have already started regarding 2018, and it looks even bigger!