Salmon are the sacrificial keystone in river ecosystems. They spend the majority of their lives eating and growing at sea, only to return to their natal streams to spawn and die. In this process, they provide both an important food source for over 130 species of fish and wildlife, and their decaying bodies act as great riparian fertilizers - transferring nutrients from the fertile oceans to relatively nutrient-deficient freshwater ecosystems. As plant growth in most temperate forests is limited by nitrogen availaibility, growth rates adjacent to streams are significantly increased - plants can derive up to 25% of their foliar nitrogen from salmon. This increased growth rate provides more shade and and faster recruitment of wood back into the river - creating a positive feedback loop whereby salmon-derived nutrients improve habitat conditions for future generations - a truly beautiful sacrifice

Female Pink salmon - Peat Bog Creek
Last Gasp
Chinook - South Fork Nooksack River
Stranded
Pinky - Peat Bog Creek
Becoming One
Decay
Blending In
Beauty in Sacrifice
The Great Riparian Fertilizer