Watershed Sentinels

Follow the Water

Through immersive visual stories of twelve charismatic and complex species dependent on connected, healthy and functioning watersheds, this ongoing documentary photography project based on the northern coast of Oregon spotlights our inextricable connection to local ecosystems and the essential element that ties us all together:

Water.

From ridge-top creeks to swift rivers cutting through conifer forests, to tidal marshes, estuaries and bays, and finally out to the depths of the Pacific ocean, the flow of water connects habitats that are seemingly independent of one another, and connects humans to wildlife in unexpected ways.

Watershed Sentinels
is a visual tapestry illustrating these overlaps.

Indicator species have surprising stories. A robin-sized seabird tells us about the effects of logging practices far inland.  An ancient jawless fish informs us about the impacts from dams hundreds of miles up river. A giant salamander that reaches over 13 inches in length quietly keeps tabs on the ebb and flow of silt in streams running through conifer forests.

The biographies of indicator species contain threads so long and intricate that suddenly the number of small fish living near our shores and the width of boughs on centuries-old trees are two key elements of a single plot line.

Following these plot lines illuminates our own dependence upon a healthy local ecosystem.

So often, we don’t notice how we as individuals are woven tightly in to the very same narrative of this creek, or that bird, of these laws or that company’s actions.

Stories of indicator species living within our watersheds, many of which are species of conservation concern, spark curiosity and engagement, inspire involvement in local policy initiatives for sustainable industry practices, and empower us all as community members to be environmental stewards.

When you stop to watch a dipper dip, or a Coho salmon make its way up stream, or a dragonfly hover at the stream edge, you’re seeing the past, present and future of our decisions, and of your story.

This is the story of us.

All of us.

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We defend what we understand

and what we need to thrive.