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Thoughts about change:

The Chinook Salmon

Sun, 16 Jul 2006 22:53:40

I learned that salmon swim up-stream, spawn and than die.

I learned that salmon will stay out in the ocean feeding and getting bigger, packing themselves with nutrients from the ocean. They will stay out for years eating everything they, eating for up to seven years before they decide to return home. During those years they will get really big (90lbs and bigger!) and would be called June Hogs by the fisherman waiting to catch them. We used to have seven-year salmon, but now, maybe if we are lucky, we have two- or three-year salmon cycles.

I learned that salmon can get up into the mountains before finally getting home and then spawning and then dying. It has been recorded that Chinook salmon will go as far in-country as Idaho; they have traveled up to 900 miles and have climbed from sea-level some 7,000 feet in to order to find their natal stream, their birth place. They are so precise that they can find the exact, little gravel-bed they were born in years ago. We think it's based on magnetoreception that allows them to find the river's mouth and then with their highly accurate sense of smell they track down the pin-point streams they were born.

Soon after spawning their bodies are designed to breakdown quickly. This allows the nutrients that had been stuffed into their bodies from years in the ocean to released back into those tiny little streams which would feed new baby salmon and end up nourishing everything, everything else: those little streams would feed other little streams which eventually would feed into rivers nourishing them, making them healthier and able to support more life. All that energy being released over and over again until it reached the oceans and to begin again. 1

They are not designed to be grandparents nor take vacations, but to contribute as much as they can to help their offspring, never ever knowing if they succeeded, but we know they did. For a time, they succeeded so well it was astounding. At the Columbian Theater, I saw a movie about Old Astoria. A grainy, black-and-white film showed the river so spastically packed with salmon that you could walk out onto the river, stepping on the backs of the sardined salmon.

I used to think that the bigger they got the farther up-stream they would swim but this correlation doesn't seem to hold very well. You would think we would know this. The salmon are as intesively studied as anything in the world, both by corporations and scientists and yet I can't seem to find a clear answer of this. One thought is that the salmon that travel the farthest aren't the biggest because they have to leave their feedings grounds much earlier than other salmon who don't swim as far upstream to arrive at the right time for spawning so they miss out on additional growth but others have noted that the bigger salmon seem to spawn more and the more the spawn the larger the salmon get (maybe from competition) and that larger salmon are going to have more energy reserves to use to swim the up the farthest. The point is that with just a cursory review of salmon migration and its determinents demonstrates how astoundingly complex salmon eco-biology is and how important is we understand because they are keystone species: they fundamental to the pacific rim's very make up and surival.

Years ago I read Gravity's Rainbow. It's a book where the hero dissapears/disintegrates half-way through the novel and the story ends with the unavoidable dread of knowing what is screaming through the sky, what is coming and still not understanding what it all means nor how to stop it, but yet the novel still had moments of inexplicable hope; none better showing hope than a quote from the most famous Nazi Scientist:

"Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death." -Wernher von Braun

It makes me pause and wonder if everything, Everything is related. And hoping it is.

KGW report Woman2 dies after rolling her SUV near Seaside

05:13 PM PDT on Saturday, June 17, 2006

By KRISTINA BRENNEMAN, kgw.com Staff

SEASIDE, Ore.

A Manzanita woman died Saturday morning when her vehicle drifted off Highway 26 about six miles east of Seaside and flipped over, state police said. Lt. Gregg Hastings of the Oregon State Police said Vickie Yunghans, 46, of Manzanita, was driving a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder eastbound on Highway 26 near milepost 6 when it drifted off the south side of the highway around 7:30 a.m. The SUV drove into a ditch and collided head-on with the side of a raised driveway entrance, he said. The vehicle then flew into the air, struck a tree and rolled at least once before coming to rest about 10 feet off the highway. Yunghans was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the crash is unknown, Hastings said. The highway was not closed during the investigation.

Footnotes

Footnotes:

1 I learned that those super-giant Western Red cedars that number only in the thousands also do the same thing. Eventually, after a thousand years or more, these red cedars fall and release all the photosynthesized energy back into the forests and let everything start all over again. And these are things we can see. What else is going on that we can't see?

2 http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_061706_news_seaside_crash.96ae9a6b.html

Date: 2013-03-08 Fri

Author: Gerardo Arnaez

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