Freshwater middlemen?

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In much the same way forage fish transfer energy up the food chain from simpler phyto- and zooplankton to more complex fish, bird, and mammal predators in the ocean, salmon transfer marine energy and nutrients inland to the stream, riparian community, and forest.

This photo taken in August 2005 shows thousands of spring-run chinook salmon over-summering in Quartz Bowl, a headwater pool on Butte Creek. That year about 10,000 fish retuned to spawn, compared to about 5,000 more recently which is a tremendous rebound from the double digit escapement numbers in the 70’s and 80’s. Over the past decade Butte Creek has comprised over 50 percent of the entire California spring-run population.

Copyrighted photo by Bill Husa, Chico Enterprise-Record; reprinted with permission.