The Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition inspires Southeast Alaskans and supports community organizations working toward the wise management of our region’s watersheds.
Field Notes - Spring 2018
Updates from SAWC & our partners in Southeast Alaska's communities:
SAWC Hosts Regional Watershed Restoration Workshop

This March SAWC hosted the 2018 Southeast Alaska Watershed Restoration Workshop in Juneau, AK, with support from the National Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership.

Over 70 people, representing 31 organizations in the region, attended the workshop. Attendees took a crash course in science communication and then focused on topics that included successful collaboration models, obstacles to scaling up restoration, novel funding strategies, and new science and tools to inform restoration.

At an evening gathering, attendees and the public were treated to an early viewing of The Salmon Forest , a new documentary produced by the Forest Service and the Sitka Conservation Society. Workshop materials and presentations, including keynote talks by watershed restoration experts from Oregon and Washington, are now available on the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership’s website .
SAWC Takes on High Priority Invasive Plants in Petersburg & Juneau
SAWC received two grants over the winter that will support efforts to manage high priority invasive plants that threaten watershed health in our region.

The Copper River Watershed Project awarded SAWC an invasive plant mini-grant to control invasive knotweed in Juneau and Petersburg starting in 2018. SAWC restoration biologist John Hudson spent the fall of 2017 outreaching to numerous Juneau landowners, including those waging unsuccessful battles to eradicate the aggressive quick-spreading plant and others who were oblivious to the knotweed growing on their properties. In all, ten private landowners in Juneau committed cash to support herbicide control of 2.3 acres of knotweed and several other landowners are on a wait-list. In addition to providing critical non-federal cash match for the grant, these private funds will support control efforts for two years after the grant period ends in December 2018 (Note: most knotweed infestations require at least three years of herbicide treatment for successful eradication).

In Petersburg SAWC is partnering with Joni Johnson who will spearhead efforts to control 2 acres of knotweed on Mitkof Island. Joni has enlisted the support of community volunteers, a youth crew from the Petersburg Indian Association, and staff from the Petersburg Borough Parks and Recreation Dept. John will be traveling to Petersburg to assist Joni and others with control efforts in late summer.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has awarded SAWC a Pulling Together Initiative grant. The grant is intended to help support the creation of local cooperative weed management area partnerships. Such partnerships bring together local landowners, citizens groups and weed experts to develop and implement strategies for managing weed infestations on public lands, natural areas, and private lands. John will use the grant to reinvigorate the Juneau Cooperative Weed Management Area which was established by the Juneau Watershed Partnership several years ago. Our goal is to engage federal, state, municipal, and private landowners in the City and Borough of Juneau to cooperatively address invasive plant management. The grant also provides funds for on-the-ground projects to control invasive plants like reed canarygrass and knotweed.

For more information on these projects or invasive plants generally, contact SAWC Restoration Biologist, John Hudson: john@sawcak
Salt & Soil Marketplace Opens for 2nd Season
Salt & Soil Marketplace is Southeast Alaska's online farmers market. Each week, members in Juneau and Haines shop for the freshest local produce, seafood, wild foods, and other goods listed by Southeast based vendors. After ordering online, members head to a distribution location to pick up their box of local goodies. This year we'll be operating two distribution hubs in Juneau, and one in Haines.

We ended last year with an incredibly popular November holiday market and went into winter with great satisfaction knowing that the first pilot year exceeded our expectations! We are currently looking for more vendors in anticipation of an even busier 2018 season.

The Juneau marketplace is now open for orders and the Haines marketplace will open in May!
Takshank Watershed Council Monitors Water Quality On Chilkat & Klehini River Watersheds
In 2015, the Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC) began working with the Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan (CIV) developing and implementing programs for the long-term monitoring of surface water chemistry and temperature in the upper Chilkat Valley, partly in response to ongoing mineral exploration in the Klehini River watershed, as well as the nomination of the Chilkat River for Outstanding National Resource Water (ONRW/Tier 3) status under the federal Clean Water Act. In partnership with the US EPA, the Alaska DEC, and SAWC, TWC and CIV developed a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for the gathering of baseline water chemistry data on the Klehini River, a major tributary of the Chilkat.

Derek Poinsette, TWC Science Director, and Daniel Klanott, CIV Environmental Specialist, conducted the first two of what will become quarterly sampling events at three sites in the upper Chilkat River watershed: 1) in Glacier Creek, a tributary of the Klehini, just below the mineral exploration project; 2) in the Klehini River upstream of Glacier Creek; and 3) in the Klehini River well below the confluence with Glacier Creek and just upstream from the confluence with the Chilkat.

TWC has also received funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to expand upon this existing project and implement an area-wide surface water temperature monitoring program, with sites located throughout the Chilkat and Chilkoot watersheds, as well as on the Chilkat Peninsula south of Haines.

TWC will continue to train and work with personnel from Klukwan for the monitoring of sites in the Chilkat Valley, and we will work with staff at the Chilkoot Indian Association (CIA) in Haines on the monitoring of study sites in the Chilkoot Valley and the Haines townsite area. We will also be coordinating with Rebecca Bellmore, SAWC’s Science Director, on incorporating this new program into regional and statewide temperature monitoring networks.
Call for Comments: Proposed Enhancement of the Borrow Pit Pond Near Haines' Klehini River Bridge
Background: The borrow pit pond near the Klehini River bridge north of Haines Alaska is an eight-acre water body that is part of the Klehini River floodplain. It is located at the west end of the bridge near mile 26 of the Haines High-way. In 1969 the area was isolated from the river by the installation of a steel bridge and construction of a riprap re-vetment. The area was operated as a private borrow pit into the early 2000’s. The northeastern portion of the pond is State of Alaska property and is within the boundaries of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. The pond is now occasionally used for swimming and other recreation. The four acre gravel pad adjacent to the pond has been a staging area for gravel mining and construction projects, including for the 2017 replacement of the Klehini River bridge.

Proposed Enhancement: The Takshanuk Watershed Council and Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition have been working with the Alaska State Parks and US Fish and Wildlife Service to evaluate opportunities to:
1.) Enhance fish and wildlife habitat through wetland creation on the north end of the pond;
2.) Maintain and enhance recreational activities such as swimming and picnicking;
3.) Improve site safety by reducing the steepness of the pond shoreline and controlling illegal dumping.

SAWC & Takshanuk Watershed Council seek your input on this proposed project! Find full project details & opportunities to submit comment here.
Community stakeholders prioritize stewardship actions for the sustainable management of salmon on Prince of Wales Island
Last fall, The Nature Conservancy, Klawock Cooperative Association, and the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership, with support from numerous agency, community, and tribal partners, convened a stakeholder meeting to evaluate the causes of declines in sockeye salmon from Klawock Lake. The well attended event helped fill key information gaps on habitat restoration, land management opportunities, community harvest management, and other topics. Working groups are actively planning out next steps and details can be found at the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership’s website . The Prince of Wales Watershed Association (POWWA) also recently convened to discuss their role as an island-wide watershed advisory group, or coalition of community and tribal organizations.

These community watershed meetings highlighted the need for increased community involvement and capacity development to bolster the sustainable management of Pacific salmon. As a result, SAWC worked with the Nature Conservancy, Klawock Cooperative Association, and several POWWA steering committee members to secure resources through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to:

1.) Develop a Klawock Sockeye Salmon Community Action Plan for the Klawock Lake Watershed: Project partners will be actively engaging community and tribal organizations, landowners, agency representatives, and other stakeholders. The development of the plan will require on the ground field assessments over the next two summers, numerous community/stakeholder engagement events, and the drafting of findings and next steps.

2.) Build community capacity for Pacific salmon protection, enhancement, and restoration actions on Prince of Wales Island: By working hand and hand with community members, SAWC will work to integrate watershed management principles into community led resource planning efforts. SAWC hopes to visit potential restoration sites with community
members and POWWA representatives to advance projects and build on the Prince of Wales Unified Watershed Assessment and Prince of Wales Landscape Assessment.

For more information or to get involved with POWWA, please contact Cheryl Fecko at
SAWC participates in Juneau's Litter-Free Community Pickup Event
On Saturday, April 28, SAWC staff joined in Juneau’s community clean-up event, sponsored by   Litter Free, Inc .  Lots of litter was removed from the streams and riparian areas in the Lower Jordan Creek Greenbelt and Switzer Creek!
We've moved!

You can find SAWC's new main office near downtown Juneau, just above Cycle Alaska at 1107 West 8th St #4