A Local Rancher and Conservationist
Since time immemorial, the Siuslaw Basin’s watershed has supported habitat for salmon. However, over the past 200 years our region has undergone significant changes. During that time, Native people, along with their traditional values and historic use of our watershed’s resources, were rapidly supplanted by commercial fishing, timber harvesting and agriculture. These impacts have significantly altered the economic, cultural and ecological characteristics of the watershed as a whole. Johnny Sundstrom, local rancher and long-time conservationist, brings his energy and unique perspectives to land management and the challenges of ecological restoration. In nearly five decades of living here, he has seen major shifts in social and biological approaches, agency responses, and in attitudes toward the uses and availability of the region’s natural resources.
Throughout his time here, Johnny has contributed to the growing awareness of the deep, mutually dependent connections between the health of salmon, the health of our home lands and waters, and our communities.
As Johnny says when talking about his involvement with our work and restoration goals, “You just can’t have a forest like this without these fish.”
Coho Salmon spend up to 18 months in freshwater streams, and then three years in the ocean, feeding and growing. When these large, mature salmon return to the rivers of their birth, they bring back the bounty of the ocean. When their carcasses are eaten, digested and deposited across the landscape by countless animals, birds and insects, they become an integral part of the forest food-chain, from stream bed to understory. And, as rivers flow back to the sea, salmon-nourished soils, packed with nutrients, feed ocean life and fuel the cycle all over again.