GUEST COLUMN: Growing "giant pumpkins" and fish habitat in Petersburg


October 20, 2022

Photo courtesy of Mary Catharine Martin | SalmonState

 U.S. Forest Service fish biologist Eric Castro prepares to drop a minnow trap into East Ohmer Creek. The crew moved hundreds of young fish prior to doing work in back channels.

PETERSBURG, AK-At East Ohmer Creek, 22 miles south of Petersburg, Alaska, is a tree believed to be the largest left on Mitkof Island. Forest Service Fish Biologist Eric Castro said foresters estimate the tree, which grew on a once-rich floodplain, is around 600 years old.

"Those giant pumpkins are what used to grow in this type of environment," Castro said.

That tree stands in contrast to those that have grown around it over the last 60 years, which have reached four to eight inches in diameter - about a tenth what would once have been expected.

Why does the floodplain that grew some of t...

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