In a graceful dance of life and death in Pacific Northwest rivers, salmon provide perennial nutrients for streamside vegetation, as well as river-dwelling animals, including the salmon itself. After long journeys, the salmon make their home-water return to spawn and die. Their carcasses, if not carried off by birds or animals, fertilize the watershed plants that act as sunscreens, keeping waters cool for the salmon. The remains of rotting salmon flesh also provide nutrients within the water; as salmon fry emerge from beneath the rocky streambeds, they feed on these nutrient-rich deposits before departing on their pilgrimage to the sea.

A spawned-out salmon carcass will release nutrients back into the river water, which will help nourish it progeny. ©Natalie Fobes
The locations of Native fishing platforms are handed down from father to son, and with the location comes the knowledge of the river's bottom and the hidey holes where salmon lie. Dusk and night are the best times to fish, the salmon can't see your shadow, and they can't see your net. ©Natalie Fobes
Lined with tall stalks of devil's club, the pristine valleys of the Khutze, Kiltuish, Green and Aaltanhash river valleys are prime salmon and bear habitat. ©Ian McAllister
Nootka lupines present a symphony of colour in the estuary of the Kshwan River, in Hastings Arm at the northern extreme of the Great Bear Rainforest. ©Ian McAllister
Sockeye salmon swim in a lake near Bristol Bay, Alaska. ©Natalie Fobes
Normally bears catch salmon with their mouths, not their paws, at these falls on the Alaska Peninsula. Because of the abundance of salmon and its rich, oily flesh, coastal brown bears can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. ©Natalie Fobes
A salmon dressed in spawning colors swims by a decomposing fish in an Alaskan lake. All Pacific salmon die after spawning, their bodies used up by the exertion of migration and procreation. Salmon don't feed once they enter the rivers and depend on their stores of fat for sustenance. Their energy needs are so great that even their scales are absorbed. ©Natalie Fobes
A salmon makes her way up a Canadian stream more than 100 miles from the ocean. In Canada and throughout the Northwestern states, the pristine stream ecosystem is being devastated by logging, farming, and development. Without cool, clean, fresh-flowing water, the salmon cannot survive. ©Natalie Fobes
A salmon fin is all that is visible from the carcass of a Chinook salmon on Canada's Adams River. ©Natalie Fobes
A female salmon swims beneath the surface of a Canadian stream. As the trees lose their leaves, these salmon finish their lives. ©Natalie Fobes
The journey of the Pacific salmon begins as alevins emerge from their eggs. ©Natalie Fobes