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 2020
Updates from SAWC & our partners in Southeast Alaska's communities:
Together we can make Southeast Alaska's local food system more resilient.
An invitation for Southeast Alaskans to elevate their awareness, involvement, and commitment to strengthening the local food system in their communities and in the region.
The Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, in collaboration with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership and Sitka Conservation Society, launches the region’s first annual Local Foods Challenge this month. The Challenge runs from May to September 2020, encouraging Southeast Alaskans to increase their involvement with the local food system in their community by learning and practicing food-related skills and also sharing local food and local food knowledge with others.

Participants are challenged to increase their levels of engagement in each of the ten categories: gather, grow, hunt, fish, cook/eat, compost/recover, preserve, share, appreciate/celebrate, and buy local.
“The Challenge is for everyone to do a little more to strengthen the local foods system.”

“No matter where you’re at, there’s always a little more you can do to improve your knowledge, skills, and engagement, or share what you know and do to help others level up their involvement.”
When participants sign up, they will assess their current involvement in these ten categories according to a four level system of engagement. Each level increases a person’s mastery with a particular topic. Participants receive monthly newsletters filled with tips, resources, inspiration from around the region and opportunities to help them meet their goals. The Challenge will also post updates to a Facebook page. It is hoped that the Challenge will foster a network to encourage each other and support local food producers during a time when food security is increasingly important.
“The Local Foods Challenge is about building a community of Southeast Alaskans who care about local foods.”

“Throughout the summer, organizers will share information, resources, place-based advice, and best practices from around the region. All ages are encouraged to participate since teaching and learning are key elements of leveling up.”
The 2020 Local Foods Challenge partners include Sustainable Southeast Partnership, Sitka Conservation Society, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension, and other partners at tribal organizations around Southeast Alaska. More details can be found on the Salt and Soil Marketplace website:

Contact: Jennifer Nu, l , (907) 205-4028
Klawock is working for sockeye salmon. 
A SAWC sponsored work crew will be run by the Klawock Cooperative Association this summer to assess habitat on salmon streams in the Klawock Lake Watershed on lands owned by the Klawock Heenya and Shaan Seet Corporations. SAWC has identified the streams as potential sites where fish habitat could benefit from restoration, and we are hoping that next year a Klawock work crew will help conduct the restoration work. 

The project is part of a broad, collaborative effort to promote healthy and sustainable sockeye salmon populations in Klawock Lake for local communities. We would like to thank the many state, federal, NGO, tribal, business, and community partners that are helping make this effort possible.   
This summer’s work crew is supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and US Fish and Wildlife Service. The Prince of Wales Tribal Conservation District and National Forest Foundation will be hosting a stream assessment training for the work crew.  
Invasive Trees
Hidden among the native willow, cottonwood, and alder in this 0.4-acre woodlot in Juneau are hundreds of invasive European bird cherry trees. 
With a grant from the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund, SAWC is doing battle with invading non-native ash and cherry trees growing in Juneau. These fast-growing, shade-tolerant invaders seem to have a fondness for riparian areas, including the margins of our salmon streams.

Native trees and other plants growing next to salmon streams provide numerous ecological functions that benefit salmon. When cherry and ash trees compete with native plants for light, nutrients, and space, a diverse community of native plants is gradually replaced with a simple community dominated by the invading trees. As the native plant community declines, so does the quality of nearby salmon habitat.

How is SAWC equipped for this battle? We’re mapping the enemy’s positions using GPS and GIS and have acquired an arsenal of herbicide-laced shells and a few hammers. We’re driving shells into the cambium to slowly kill the tree with no collateral damage to nearby native plants. Local wood-turners have been enlisted to help remove “fallen” trees from the battlefield. They’ll turn them into beautiful works of art.

To report bird cherry and ash trees in natural areas around Juneau, contact SAWC restoration biologist John Hudson at 419-4677 or
Herbicide shells pounded into the cambium of this European bird cherry will kill the tree with no impacts to adjacent native plants.
Watershed Science
Jordan Creek and Ketchikan
Below: John Hudson collects water samples from Jordan Creek.
Water quality monitoring continues in Jordan Creek (Juneau) and Ketchikan beaches this year. Jordan Creek monitoring is targeting common urban stormwater constituents, including bacteria, heavy metals, nutrients, and oils, that can be harmful to aquatic life.

We are currently developing a watershed management plan with green infrastructure strategies that can reduce and treat stormwater runoff before it reaches Jordan Creek.

In Ketchikan, we will continue to partner with Ketchikan Indian Community staff to collect weekly water samples for bacteria at recreational beaches beginning in mid-May and continuing through September.

Many of these locations have a history of not meeting water quality standards, and this project provides residents with up-to-date information about water quality at their beaches.

These projects are supported by the AK Department of Environmental Conservation.
Pat Creek Tributary
Brett Woodbery removes a manmade fish passage barrier and restores a stream channel on a tributary to Pat Creek.  
At the end of March, SAWC completed on the ground restoration work on a small salmon stream that feeds into the Pat’s Creek watershed near Wrangell, AK. 

The project was on Mental Health Trust Land and was conducted with assistance from the US Forest Service and support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

This tributary had been damaged and blocked off in areas as a result of a previous logging operation and clearing for a utility corridor. The goal of this project is to return the stream to a natural stream channel, allowing for fish passage for coho salmon. 

Thanks to Angie Flickinger, Brett Woodbury, and Martin Hutten for making this project happen.  
An abandoned logging road was decommissioned, and this failing log stringer bridge was removed.