TABLE OF CONTENTS
|What’s Your Watershed Contribution?
By Michael Guerriero
There was an event along the Van Duzen River last month that bears acknowledging. I received a call from a friend, warning that travel west on the highway was blocked by a downed old-growth redwood. The event inconvenienced a number of travelers on their daily routines until Caltrans dispatched the part in the road with saw cuts and tractor. A few days later I stopped to find that this five-foot-diameter tree, which we had been driving by all these years, had fallen perpendicularly across the road and out to the cobbled riverbed.
In its final gesture, the tree fell in the best place, where its bulk could contribute to the river’s wildlife habitat—a place where it might imbed into the bar after several seasons of high water to create a unique complexity for spawning salmon. It may divert toward the opposite bank some of the water that braids out around an island downstream that has caused some troublesome erosion by the highway. I found it fortunate that the tree’s wood is flawed, causing it to be rejected (so far) by the wood poachers who deprive the watershed of its natural means to heal past degradation.
With this tree in mind, I consider my own associations with the Van Duzen, and by extension, its contribution to the Eel River as a tributary. After all, I am as much a function of the watershed as that old redwood. Being a container of 70% water that nourishes itself from the soils, fungi, clean air, and water of the watershed, this description of myself would apply to most watershed residents. By writing this, a channel is formed to express the creativity of the watershed.