the film
Commentaries and editorials

Rotting Fish, Manure Help the Fish Life Cycle

by Dick Blum
Letters to Editor, Capital Press - December 21, 2001

We keep seeing from certain quarters how damaging manure from cattle is to rivers and fish. Really?

We're told that 150 years ago 60 million buffalo roamed the West and 16 million salmon entered the Columbia each year. Imagine the manure when those buffalo watered twice a day!

The Sept 28 issue of Wisconsin Fishing and Hunting News carried an article on Lake Mills walleye hatchery. Until 1998, it used organic fertilizer (manure) to help produce a particular green algae. It's the primary food source for microscopic zooplankton which are an important food source for walleyes.

Oregon was mentioned in an article by former Wisconsin fisheries director Lee Kernen, "Smell of death part of life in Alaska."

"They hid their golden eggs beneath a foot of gravel and then slowly cashed in.

"One more job remained; and that was to feed their young. The huge carcasses lie in the shallows out of the current and begin to break apart. To the newly hatched young fry, it's a giant smorgasbord. Without the adults that transport the nutrients in from the sea, the river would support only a fraction of the fish and invertebrates it does."

Oregon hatcheries kill and sell "excess" fish. Every fish the hatchery program doesn't need should be trucked to far reaches of the river and released to spawn and die naturally Oregon rivers have been kept so "clean," millions of fish starve. As ODFW says: "It's part of our management plan."

Our Tillamook Community Devleopment department doesn't even make believe it's the fish anymore. It thinks it needs to take control of all private property in the entire watershed, just to play it safe! What arrogance!

Dick Blum Tillamook, Oregon
Rotting Fish, Manure Help the Fish Life Cycle
Capital Press, December 21, 2001

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation