Alaska Department of Fish & Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, Kenai Watershed Forum, Trout Unlimited, Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership
As you head toward the Last Frontier to experience some of America’s greatest fisheries, consider how far we have come and how far we still have to go. In 1959, when Alaska gained statehood, resource development was the driver with the state’s wealth of natural resources. However, in the past 50 years, exploitation has taken its toll. Access and development have created the significant impacts with poorly-constructed roads, boom towns’ gone bust and abandoned mines, and the State will forever be scarred by the Exxon Oil Spill. This conservation project eliminated four fish passage barriers and built upon the interests of government agencies and fisheries organizations to restore these rivers and support the goal of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (EVOSTC) Restoration Program. The culverts at this site were undersized and perched, preventing the movement of almost all juvenile salmonids and impacting stream channel processes.
Steelhead, Dolly Varden, pink salmon, Pacific lamprey, Coho, king and sockeye salmon all require intact spawning habitat, and are the primary species that will benefit from this project. While the actual project focused on the removal of fish passage barriers, this short description does not really do justice to the scale of the project. By eliminating these barriers, this project opened up many miles of spawning habitat within the Crooked Creek watershed and outside of federally-protected areas. Unfortunately, instead of doing effective on-the-ground conservation work, a good portion of time was spent on piecing together various pots of money that enabled the culverts to be removed, which ensured fish passage. This is where you can make a huge impact. By donating to Beyond the Pond on behalf of fisheries habitat conservation, you can ensure that these fish are available when your grandkids go fishing in Alaska.