Saturday, January 17, 2015

Crescent Creek Fish

Oooooooo!  Look!  Fish!  The first year we lived in Alaska we stopped by Crescent Creek when out exploring and saw all these fish in the river. I was amazed! What a land of plenty if the fish are swimming by in swarms.  Now I just chuckle at my naivete. First of all, this is hardly any fish. I've seen hundreds of fish piled on top of each other, looking literally like you could walk across their backs and not get wet, at the base of the Russian River Falls not far from Crescent Creek. And I also know that most of these fish will be dead shortly, as salmon spawn and then die. In fact, that looks like a dead salmon on the shore in the foreground of this picture. 

Now I am so much more aware of how the fish fit into this ecosystem, how the salmon runs affect the movement and feeding habits of bear, which affects other animals, including people! With so much easy food each year from the salmon run, bear thrive. They are also full so as long as you're not getting between them and their food (or their young), for the most part they seem to mind their own business.

Alaska is a land of plenty in many ways still, but like the rest of the world, that plenty can be depleted in no time, particularly with a world population that continues to grow and those seeking to maximize profits rather than longevity. It is a tough balance to find, and if someone were to walk by an Alaska river and see it full of swarming fish, it might be difficult to convince them that these fish populations are at risk.

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