Recently, I attended a workshop to learn more about what I can do as both a gardener and a landscape designer to help the salmon survive and to make a difference in our environment.
Restoring our watershed means remembering that all water runs downhill, and compacted bare soils don’t absorb water. Water rushes downhill, collecting debris, dirt and contaminants as it goes, polluting and muddying the water that the salmon use. If a stream is muddy and a salmon can’t see, it won’t go into the stream, which is where they return to spawn. Personally, I like to see where I’m going, and hadn’t ever thought about how salmon navigate or their preferences. They don’t use radar to find their way home, they have to see.
So how does mulching get in the act of saving salmon? Mulching slows down the water, and improves the soil’s moisture holding capacity and it actually immobilizes and degrades pollutants. This means cleaner, less polluted water goes to streams and rivers, keeping the water clear for the salmon to see. Pretty simple huh!
Well, it is. Mulching bare soil areas with as little as 2 inches of compost has many benefits. It supplies slow release nutrients to plants and to existing natural good fungi. Compost improves your soil structure, creating passageways for air and water, creating a better environment for plant growth and a healthier low maintenance garden for you.
“If all the bare soils in the Portland Metropolitan area were covered with 2 inches of medium grade compost, there wouldn’t be any problem with runoff into the rivers and stream.” The Salmon can’t be saved with random acts of kindness.