A guest blog post by Alan Moore from Trout Unlimited’s Portland office.
A spate of mysterious disappearances of culverts, logging roads and apparent vandalism to private property has officials scratching their heads and young salmon, trout and steelhead running rampant over areas formerly seldom or never frequented by fish. As many as 10 fish-barrier culverts have disappeared in the last month in the Necanicum River watershed alone, allowing new or vastly improved access to for young fish all hours of the day and night to some 13-14 stream miles. Officials have not ruled out extra-terrestrial activity.
“We’re seeing these young punk fish partying and carrying on in areas they never dared go before,” said a law enforcement official on the condition of anonymity. “It’s almost like someone opened the barn door and said ‘Have at it, you damn young punk fish.’ And by God they did. Our IT folks back east tell us they almost for sure have to be using the Internets and these ‘flashmobs.’ There’s just too many of ’em showing up to explain it any other way.”
Caption: This 8 x 60-foot culvert and associated tons of fill material were last seen in place on the mainstem of Klootchy Creek on August 25, 2010. All that remained on the morning of the 26th was the creek flowing through what looked like its natural path at natural flow. A total of NINE culverts vanished with nary a trace along a 1-mile stretch of Klootchy Creek in the span of just over one week.
Caption: This triple-barrel culvert and concrete fill at the confluence of the Necanicum mainstem and Circle Creek disappeared in early September, literally overnight. By sheer coincidence, a group of volunteers from Trout Unlimited and the Rainland Flycasters had just finished construction on a bridge just upstream, so traffic was not disrupted.
Destruction has not been limited to hardened infrastructure. Elk hunters reported a lengthy section of historic logging road in the Circle Creek headwaters of the Necanicum Watershed destroyed and covered with downed trees, log jams and native plant growth, rendering it almost indistinguishable from the surrounding forest floor adjacent to the creek. The hunters reported the road was a total loss, certainly beyond recovery in our lifetimes.
“That road belongs to the forest and the crick now,” said one.
“Yup,” said another.
The miscreants have not spared private property. A 10-acre former industrial lettuce farm on private land on the Necanicum mainstem along Hwy 26 has been mysteriously returned to its former function as an enormous off-channel nursery for juvenile coho and cutthroat, which began flooding into the vandalized area literally within hours of opening a connection to the mainstem river. Ton upon ton of large woody debris has been scattered around the site. Native vegetation has overgrown the once carefully manicured field. The property owners were not available for comment. Neighbors said they were “out listening to the chorus frogs sing again like they did when they was kids.”
“The scary part is, it’s almost like there’s a rhyme and reason to what’s going on here,” said the anonymous official. “It’s like the aliens, terrorists or whoever’s behind this mess have a plan to make this a place where more young fish can survive, get bigger and stronger and maybe even organize. They’re giving em what they need to take over. There’s no telling how many fish this monkey business could lead to, but I tell you what: it’s an awful lot. Without these barriers keeping those kids in their place and all this new room for them to eat and grow and escape predators, this place could be overrun with fish if this keeps up. Folks around here just hope that order’s restored when these punks’ parents get home this fall and winter. Won’t be any tears shed when these younguns go out to the ocean either; we just hope that’s the end of it.”
Trout Unlimited has set up a task force in its Portland office to track suspected extraterrestrial salmo-vandalism on the North Coast. To report anomalies, or to volunteer for the task force, drop a line to Alan Moore (email@example.com).