Forest Service webcam captures sockeye salmon on spawning run

The U.S. Forest Service has set up a live webcam to capture footage of sockeye salmon as they swim upstream to spawn in Alaska’s Steep Creek on the Tongass National Forest.

The salmon can be viewed live, going about their business sometimes 10 at a time.

After spending several years at sea,  adult sockeyes return to Steep Creek to spawn, their last act before they die.  An average run of sockeyes in the creek is about 1,000 fish, said Pete Schneider, a fisheries biologist with the Tongass.

“We have seen it as low as 350 and as high as 4,000. So many factors can contribute to run size. It’s difficult to predict,” Schneider said.

After they die, the dead sockeye are good meals for a variety of forest dwellers, including their own offspring, eagles and bears. As their nitrogen-rich carcasses decompose they add valuable nutrients into the ecosystem.

To watch the webcam, look here.

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