|Tlingit Totem Pole depicting salmon, Sitka Historical Park|
|Salmon swimming up a stream (Len's photo)|
|Dead salmon in the stream|
|Trees by the salmon stream|
"And just as trees need salmon, salmon depend on trees. Every part of a tree participates in enriching a stream for aquatic life, from its tiny needles to its strong twisted roots. Streamside vegetation shades spawning streams, keeping developing eggs cool." -- from "Why Fish Need Trees and Trees Need Fish" by Anne Post.
Distribution of the nutrients brought back from the sea by salmon is the job of the bears who fish in the streams and then spread the leftovers and their droppings nearby: "each adult female grizzly bear on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska eats about 3000 lbs of salmon per year". The bears are much better nourished by salmon than by the berries and other plants or small animals that they feed on: "Grizzly bears that eat a lot of salmon are 80% larger, produce 25% more cubs, and live in populations that are up to 50 times denser than grizzly bears that fatten primarily on fall berries." -- Washington State University Bear Center.
The entire quality of the stream is created by nearby trees, birds, animals, insects, and other plants. All are nourished by salmon that died after spawning or were partially eaten by bears; the salmons' bodies particularly feed the insect life that later feeds the growing salmon larvae. A tight food chain!
|From a kayak we saw this bear with a salmon in his mouth: gulls were waiting for leftovers.|