[Fwd: BIOD: Fire is Good for Many Forests in the Long Term]

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Thu Oct 19 10:23:05 EST 2000

In article <39EEDF3B.DA941DA2 at daviesand.com>,
  Karl Davies <karl at daviesand.com> wrote:
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> The following line in this post caught my eye:
> Studies show sediment uncovered by fires clogs streams for a few years,
> but then provides long-term, nutrient-rich habitat for fish.
<G> But isn't this a charcoal water filter?
> This is something I've wondered about for years now.  We always hear
> about the negative effects of sediment in streams, but never about the
> positive ones.  Why is this?  Is it because they don't exist?  Or does
> it have more to do with PEOPLE not liking dirty water?
I thnink it may have to do with turbidity: people on the West coast have
learned to equate muddy water with unclean water (which it is not,
necessarily). Also, it is just aesthetically unpleasing. But more
importantly, in terms of salmon survival, fish cannot live for long in
very muddy water: it clogs their gills, and drowns them. Ironic, eh? Fish

That part of the reason gold-dredging operations in many western streams
are being carefully monitored: dredging of a 12" suction dredge can cause
sedimentation and water turbidity for several hundred feed downstream.
Eventually that water-born debris can filter out. When it filters on top
of salmon redds, it can kill the majority of the eggs before they hatch.

In sort of a double irony, the tailings from a floating dredge are often
well-attended by larger fish such as trout and squawfish. They like to
stay in the sides of the tailings, away from the silt but near-enough to
snap up a dislodged helgramite or similar food source. Something to
consider if you are a fisherman and see a gold dredge. Who knows? You
might even catch a golddigger. <G>

Daniel B. Wheeler

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