Trees help fish keep their cool

Back when I graduated from college, I led tree-planting projects throughout the Cascade Foothills. Rain or shine, volunteers joined me every weekend to trudge through the woods, sometimes sinking up to their knees in mud or tripping over the roots of established trees. They endured the mess and discomfort, knowing that they were making a difference. Together we planted thousands of young trees while also helping to ensure a healthy future forest.

Trees = One of nature’s greatest assets

sockeye-salmon-52272_1280Trees are one of nature’s greatest assets and, in urban areas like Kirkland, trees are essential to keeping our lakes and creeks healthy for fish and other aquatic wildlife. They’re valuable too — Kirkland’s park trees alone are appraised at $17.6 million!

When properly planted and well cared for, trees can trap and hold rainwater in their leaves, branches, bark and root systems, slowing the flow of rainwater and reducing runoff, flooding and erosion. When planted along streams, they also provide shade to help keep the water cool for fish and other aquatic wildlife. For fish, the cooler the water, the better. Water that is too warm can make fish susceptible to disease and parasites, or even suffocate them if it gets too hot.

Dead trees matter, too! When streamside trees die, they can fall into the stream and slow the water and form pools where fish can rest in comfort.

Plant a tree for fish

Image courtesy of Green Kirkland Partnership.

Image courtesy of Green Kirkland Partnership.

When sprucing up your yard this fall, consider planting a tree in your yard as an investment in the health your home and your local creeks. Seattle reLeaf’s webpage is a great resource for information on placing and planting a tree in your yard. Kirkland’s Urban Forest page contains lots of great information on the City of Kirkland’s efforts to protect this valuable natural resource.

No room to plant a tree in your own yard? Join Green Kirkland Partnership (GKP) at one (or more!) of their many volunteer projects and plant a tree in one of Kirkland’s parks. In 2015, GKP planted 960 trees in parks throughout Kirkland. In 2016, they’re on track to plant another 540 trees. Late October through December is planting season so this is the perfect time to bundle up and head outside to plant trees and other native plants. Find more volunteer dates at

It’s Salmon Seeson!

Native salmon will soon begin their journey home from the ocean to their birthplaces in the streams and rivers around Puget Sound, to complete their remarkable lifecycle.

It’s “Salmon Seeson” in King County, which means there are numerous opportunities to visit your favorite stream and learn more about these fascinating, iconic fish. Check out the Salmon Seeson webpage for information about salmon viewing opportunities, as well as information about ways people can help fish.