Metlakatla Watershed Plan Update

from Kelsey Dean, Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition (SAWC)


Thanks to those that participated in

the community meeting in April.

Since that meeting, we have been busy training and collecting data for the

Watershed Plan.

Upcoming Activities

Spencer and Ewa will be conducting community surveys to collect more information on the watershed.


Kelsey will be back June 22nd - 30th to assist with more data collection.


The team will present their findings in the fall - stay tuned for more details! 

In the meantime, feel free to contact Kelsey at or at (907) 531-1811 or Taylor Stumpf at

What we've done so far:

When old-growth trees growing next to salmon streams are harvested, fish habitat declines. To build regional capacity to restore these streams, SAWC hosted a stream restoration training in Ketchikan which included Spencer, Ewa, and Taylor with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

They learned about what makes a healthy, productive fish habitat by

designing and building log structures in upper Ward Creek.


Ewa prepares to dig into the stream bed to create a place to anchor large wood. 


Spencer and crew hand carry a tree to add to their restoration site.


Ewa helps move a tree into Ward Creek, pulling on the line as a Capstan Winch is run by another participant.

More Photos and Videos here! 

Restoration site in Upper Ward Creek. Training particpants added 5 trees using winches, grip hoists, and muscle to help create good fish habitat.

Wood is Good

When a tree falls into a stream it creates fish habitat. Fallen trees create pools where fish can rest and hide from predators. Pools and wood sort gravel for spawning. Wood is crucial for maintaining healthy salmon runs. 

Unfortunately, historic logging practices allowed trees to be cut right up to the stream bank and sometimes loggers used the stream itself as a “road” to get logging equipment into an area. 

Without large wood, streams become straighter, pools smaller, and there are fewer places for fish to hide. 

That's where stream restoration comes in. 

The Metlakatla crew learned how to select and place trees to create fish habitat. They practiced:

  • selecting trees to be felled
  • moving trees into the stream using a winch
  • digging in the stream channel to create anchor spots for their structures
  • designing structures

...and much more! 

Participants learn from Forest Service staff what makes healthy fish habitat.

Data Collection in Metlakatla

After a week of training in Ketchikan, Spencer and Ewa have been putting their new skills to work in Metlakatla.

They have been surveying streams around Metlakatla and collecting basic data on culvert condition, roads, and stream condition using an I-pad.

Ewa walking Trout Creek .JPEG

Ewa walks Trout Creek conducting a basic stream survey.

Monitoring Stream Temperature

Understanding the temperature of a stream is critical to maintaining healthy salmon runs.

Spencer and Ewa installed temperature loggers in Hemlock Creek and Moss Point Creek.

Installing temperature loggers will help the Department of Fish and Wildlife know what is happening with stream temperature in important salmon streams across the island.

We have plans to install more temperature loggers in other streams over the summer.

Hemlock Creek Temp Logger Installation.JPEG

Spencer works on installing a stream temperature probe in Hemlock Creek.

Thank you for your participation! 


Kelsey Dean

Watershed Scientist

Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition

Visit our website for more community watershed work in action!