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As featured in the documentary, DamNation (2014).
Every May for 14 years, Lee Spencer and his companion, a herding dog named Sis, have camped next to a deep pool along the North Umpqua’s Steamboat Creek. Their explicit job, until December, is to protect the 400 to 800 cherished wild summer steelhead who come up from the Pacific to spawn in Big Bend Pool, from poachers who had been known to dynamite the pool to create a massive kill. His implicit calling is to observe and record the web of life that nurtures the pool and its surroundings and inhabitants.
A distillation of 14 years of detailed observations, in this surprisingly engaging almanac Spencer has captured natural history teeming with fish, water, vegetation, birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians, seasonal changes, and interesting events and stories. Spencer is a modern day Thoreau, and the steelhead pool is his Walden Pond. In the grand tradition of The Sand County Almanac, this book will educate, inspire, and activate conservationists and anglers to appreciate and protect the waterways they love.
Lee Spencer is the FishWatch caretaker at the Big Bend Pool of Steamboat Creek. From May to December of each year, he watches over the remote pool and the summer steelhead that gather there. He lives on site in a trailer provided by the North Umpqua Foundation. He has no phone, email, or internet access, but occasionally drives back to civilization for supplies. Spencer has lived at the pool for over 15 years. He has spent 2600 days and over 34,000 hours observing the wild steelhead there.
Living at the pool for so many years has given Lee the chance to study the fish and other wild animals that come there. In addition to his duties of educating visitors and deterring would-be poachers, he takes careful notes about his observations for field research, which are often used by biologists and employees of the Forest Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Spencer was featured in the documentary Damnation (Patagonia, 2014).