The Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition inspires Southeast Alaskans and supports community organizations working toward the wise management of our region’s watersheds.
Field Notes - Fall 2018
Updates from SAWC & our partners in Southeast Alaska's communities:
Partnering with the Forest Service to Restore Admiralty Island’s Florence Lake and Ward Creek

Above: Marci Johnson (Wildlife & Fisheries Biologist for the US Forest Service), John Hudson (SAWC Restoration Biologist), and Rob Cadmus (SAWC Director) look at a printed GIS maps showing roads, culverts, and clear-cuts of Florance Lake and Ward Creek. GIS analyses were conducted to help prioritize assessment efforts.  
In August, SAWC partnered with the US Forest Service to conduct a site condition and restoration opportunity assessment of Admiralty Island’s Florence Lake and Ward Creek. These remote watersheds were heavily logged and roaded in the 80’s and 90’s while in private ownership.  The US Forest Services has now purchased these lands, which will become part of Admiralty Island National Monument.  Remote, rugged, and challenging to access, SAWC is helping with the effort to assess and restore these lands by bringing in technical expertise and evaluating if SAWC’s in-lieu fee mitigation program can be used to support wetland and stream restoration.  A special thanks to the National Forest Foundation for helping make this work possible.

John Hudson takes measurements to assess the condition of this tributary to Ward Creek.  While this stream still supports coho salmon, clear cut logging has left its riparian area degraded and little woody debris in the stream for salmon habitat.  SAWC is evaluating if placing woody debris in the stream and restoring the riparian vegetation could help improve its condition
Derek Poinsette (Takshanuk Watershed Council’s Science Director) carries his tent, food, stove, clothes, bear gun, and survey gear on the “Mainline” logging road.  SAWC’s assessment team backpacked for from site to site to reach priorities areas because of the remote nature and size of the area.  Some of the old logging roads are easy walking, like the above, others are thick with alder, washed out, and challenging to even walk.  
John Hudson, SAWC Restoration Biologist, stands in front of a stand of second growth that has regrown from past clear-cut logging. 
John moves 5ft into the second growth…
John is now 10ft into the second growth.  Yes, he is actually in there!  Spruce regenerate at such high densities after logging that they become very thick. These “dog hair” forests are not good habitat because there are no understory plants used for food by deer, bears, and other wildlife.  This situation is bad for streams too, as it will be a long time before these trees will grow big enough to fall into the streams and provide fish habitat.  Riparian thinning can help improve this condition by allowing selected trees to grow larger faster.  
New communities join the Southeast Alaska Stream Temperature Monitoring Network
The regional stream temperature monitoring network expanded this summer, with Wrangell Cooperative Association and Ketchikan Indian Community taking on new sites in their areas.

In Wrangell, WCA’s Kim Wickman, FS Fishery Biologist Dennis Reed, and SAWC Science Director Rebecca Bellmore visited Pat and McCormack Creeks. In Ketchikan, KIC’s Nicole Forbes and Rebecca visited Leask and Mahoney Creeks. Loggers will collect hourly temperature data year-round.

These data will help inform our understanding of the status and trends of stream temperatures throughout the region. Soon, communities will have the opportunity to use their data in a  salmon life cycle model  to explore how future changes in temperatures might affect salmon in their streams.

Fish Passage Restored With the Completion of Juneau's Picnic Creek Restoration Project
Formerly the site of a deteriorating concrete fish ladder, the outlet of Juneau's Picnic Creek at the Lena Point recreation site held several barriers to safe passage of the stream's resident pink salmon population from ocean to stream. With support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Forest Service project partners, SAWC contracted engineering firm Interfluve Inc. to design a project to remove the weathered fish ladder, improve a road crossing with a new wider footbridge, and reconstruct stream banks to allow for improved passage within the stream's natural flow patterns.

Construction of the project was completed this summer, allowing for full passage of fish species accessing the stream.
SAWC Welcomes Jennifer Nu as Director of the Local Foods Program!
Jennifer joined the SAWC team this summer as Local Foods Director & Community Food Sustainability Catalyst with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership. Jennifer holds an interdisciplinary master’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks specializing in local food systems, sustainable development, and community well-being. Prior to joining SAWC, she developed and coordinated community-based health promotion in communities of Southwest Alaska. These participatory projects centered on celebrating traditional knowledge and values of local foods as the foundation for wellness and living a good life. In her spare time, Jennifer can be found backpacking, paddling, cross-country skiing, photography, and connecting with friends while harvesting local foods and plants. Any and all wild Alaska fish are her favorites.

SAWC is so excited to have her on board, sharing her knowledge, skills, & experience to help advance community food sustainability throughout Southeast Alaska!
2018 Salt & Soil Marketplace: New distribution locations and a record-breaking second year!
The second season of Salt & Soil Marketplace has been an overwhelming success in numerous ways. Our sales continued to break records in the summer, and we needed to both expand our distribution day staff and our outreach capabilities. 

Hiring a communications intern, Lea Skaggs, to help with this was essential. She started and ran a fantastic volunteer program that is robust and helps keep our distribution running as smooth as it can each week. This was on top of nearly double the number of vendors, members, orders compared to the previous year.

We also opened two new distribution locations in Juneau bringing our total to 3 covering the downtown – Lemon Creek and Valley areas of Juneau. Our Haines distribution did not experience much growth, but did fulfill a need in that community. T his winter  we will  determine  if there is  a need to change our  operations i n smaller markets like Haines and  if we should  expand to other  areas  in Southeast. To help with this and to ensure a successful long-term future for Salt & Soil and the food program, we welcome a new team member Jennifer Nu, as the Local Foods Director at SAWC. We are excited to have her on board!
Growing Love for Local Foods in Haines
Starvin’ Marvin School Garden:

Takshanuk Watershed Council hosted their 4 th  annual Garden Party fundraiser in August and had a great turnout! Check out the video here


Since school started in August grades k-6 have been making trips to the garden to help harvest. Some of the veggies are taken back to their classrooms for activities like making kale smoothies, baking zucchini bread, and some to take home with the students. The rest of the veggies are brought to the school cafeteria and used in the school lunches. (photos attached)

TWC continues to compost all the school's lunch scraps each day. The 6 th  grade students are helping to bring the scraps to the compost shed and adding saw dust from the school shop and shredded paper from the school office (photo below).
Announcing: The 2019 Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit!
Join us for a special gathering of growers, producers, and local food enthusiasts at the 2019 Farmer’s Summit, February 15-17, 2019 in Sitka, Alaska. Together, we will build a robust local food economy in Southeast Alaska!

Registration will be open in October 2018. Check the Salt & Soil Marketplace for updates.

Summit events will take place at Sweetland Hall at Sheldon Jackson Campus and Centennial Hall. The summit will begin on Friday, February 15 at 1pm and will end on Sunday, February 17th at 5pm. An optional post-conference workshop will take place Monday, February 18, 2019. This workshop will be about “On-Farm Safety” presented by Barb Hansen, Dairy Sanitarian/Produce Safety Specialist, DEC Office of the State Veterinarian.
PROGRAM

The 2019 summit offers an exciting opportunity to connect with growers, producers, and local food enthusiasts from Southeast Alaska and beyond!

Friday will feature a series of presentations from producers from around Southeast Alaska and is a chance for new and experienced farmers to expand their network.


Saturday and Sunday, the summit welcomes the following visiting presenters and keynote topics: 
Employees and Interns, Meghan Fehrmen, Rogue Farm Corps
Cover Crops, Euro Ruuttilla, Johnny's Seeds
Farming in Fairbanks , Maggie Hallum, Cripple Creek Organics
Vermiculture, Bruce Elliot, Sustainable Ag Technologies
Mushrooms , Tristan Woodsmith, Fungi Perfecti
Pest Disease Management , Janice Chumley, UAF

Stay tuned for registration & more information!
Takshanuk Watershed Council Maps Haines Stormwater
Through funding from the DEC Alaska Clean Water Actions grant program, TWC is mapping the storm water infrastructure within the Haines townsite. This includes mapping the location of all stormdrains, flow direction, input areas, and outlet locations. Through this survey, sediment source areas are also being identified and locations where green infrastructure like rain gardens or bioswales could reduce the amount of sediment and pollutants that enter our stormdrains.
Baseline Water Quality Data Keeps the Haines Community Informed as Mine Develops
The Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC) and the Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan (CIV) have been working together to collect baseline water quality data in Glacier Creek and the Klehini River. This project is in response to ongoing mineral exploration in the area, and the need to record baseline conditions in these waters before a large-scale mine is developed. Neither the State of Alaska nor the BLM collect baseline water quality data. The mineral exploration company, Constantine Metal Resources, is collecting data for its own uses, but treats the information as proprietary, and is not required to make the data available to the public.

The CIV/TWC water quality project began in 2016 with the development of a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). Water quality sampling commenced in December of 2017 and has been ongoing. Three sites are being sampled: 1) lower Glacier Creek, 2) the Klehini River upstream of Glacier Creek, and 3) the Klehini River downstream of Glacier Creek at the 26-Mile bridge. Sites will be sampled quarterly, at as wide a variety of weather and flow conditions as possible, for five years. 

Parameters being recorded include both a dissolved and total metals analysis of 27 elements, including copper, silver, lead, zinc, and mercury; also hydrocarbons (petroleum), sulfate, total organic carbon, total suspended solids, and basic water quality parameters such as salinity, pH, alkalinity, hardness, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen. All information will be shared publicly via EPA and DEC online databases. 

Results so far indicate that the water at all three sampling sites is of the highest quality and far exceeds any standard for either drinking water or aquatic life.

 
Juneau’s Jordan Creek Watershed Management Plan and Riparian Assessment completed
The Juneau Watershed Partnership recently released an updated  Jordan Creek Watershed Management Plan   and  Jordan Creek Riparian Assessment .

Jordan Creek flows through Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley, through neighborhoods and heavily developed industrial areas. The stream is home to Coho, Chum, and Pink salmon, but erosion, stormwater runoff, litter, and development in riparian areas are damaging water quality and habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms.

The watershed management plan recommends actions that can be taken to improve habitat and water quality, such as rehabilitating riparian buffers, better managing stormwater runoff and snow storage, controlling invasive plants, and litter cleanups. SAWC will continue to pursue these recommendations and monitor the health of the stream.
Watershed Partners on Prince of Wales Island
For millennia, the Klawock Lake watershed on Prince of Wales Island provided Tlingit people with the resource needed to thrive. In addition to plants, trees, and game, the watershed produced an abundance of salmon, most notably sockeye, which spawned in lake tributaries and whose offspring reared in the lake.

In recent times, however, intensive harvest of salmon and trees, the construction of roads, and land development have adversely impacted the watershed’s health and ability to sustainably provide abundant natural resources for people. Today, sockeye returns are much smaller than historical levels were, and many of the big ancient trees, once towering above streams and providing critical habitat for wildlife and fish, are missing.

Over the past 20 years, state and federal agencies, non-profits, tribal organizations, and native corporations have been working together to study the lake and watershed, assess on-the-ground conditions, and implement projects that will heal the land and improve watershed health. Recently, The Nature Conservancy compiled these studies and findings into a watershed retrospective analysis and concluded that more work needs to be done.
With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition is helping to set the course for improved salmon management and watershed restoration and recovery in the Klawock Lake area. We are working with The Nature Conservancy to develop a sockeye salmon action plan, identify habitat restoration opportunities, and build community capacity for salmon protection, enhancement and restoration actions in the watershed, as well as elsewhere on Prince of Wales Island.
SAWC staff investigate the lower reaches of 3-mile Creek, a historically important sockeye salmon spawning area that has been intensively logged. Although large wood abundance and fish habitat quality appear to be high in this area, in-stream wood is expected to decompose long before being replaced by small trees that are currently growing next to the stream.  
Last August, SAWC Executive Director Rob Cadmus, Science Director Rebecca Bellmore, and Restoration Biologist John Hudson visited Prince of Wales Island. In addition to visiting impaired salmon streams in Hollis, Thone Bay, and Coffman Cove, we explored 3-Mile and Hatchery creeks, two major salmon streams in the Klawock watershed. Our objectives were to meet watershed landowners and residents, gain a better understanding of how land development and logging activities are reflected in current watershed conditions, and identify opportunities for habitat restoration. We spent time wading streams with local Forest Service experts, mapped salmon habitat, visited salmon-blocking culverts, and inventoried habitat-forming large pieces of wood.

Our on-the-ground findings and existing watershed information will inform a Klawock Lake watershed restoration plan. This plan, in combination with a salmon management plan prepared by a consultant, will be presented to our local partners and other community members this fall. We’re looking forward to working with the community to put the completed plan into action.
SAWC staff Rob Cadmus and Rebecca Bellmore, and board member Steve McCurdy  investigate an impaired salmon stream near the Hollis Cemetery on Prince of Wales Island last August.
Quinn Aboudara of the Klawock Cooperative Association pilots a boat in Hatchery Creek while transporting SAWC staff for a recon trip in the lower watershed last August. 
Community Watershed Assessment Collects Data on Watershed Health & Management Opportunities in Wrangell
With support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, SAWC is conducting a community watershed assessment within the City & Borough of Wrangell (CBW). Assessment field work began this summer, as Wrangell Project Coordinator Angie Flickinger and SAWC Science Director Rebecca Bellmore met with community entities and surveyed prioritized sites. The assessment will take stock of current aquatic resources within the CBW, identifying the location of key resources, aquatic functions, and current habitat conditions. The data collected will inform an assessment report that will identify opportunities for aquatic resource mitigation & restoration, as well as suggested best management practices for community watershed management including stormwater management and stream buffer development protocols.

The goal of this assessment project is to provide an up to date inventory of community watershed resources and inform planning for future community development. Results of the assessment will be shared with the community of Wrangell upon completion of the report at the end of this year.
Our assessment identifies a potential site for a demonstration rain garden to manage stormwater flow into a salmon stream at a local park.