The Nature Conservancy

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Working with Native People from Nushagak River Villages.

Alaska's Bristol Bay is home to 51 percent of the wild sockeye salmon on Earth. The Nature Conservancy is working with Native people in the villages of the Nushagak River -- one of the bay's five major salmon rivers -- to protect wild salmon habitat in an innovative conservation project. © Clark James Mishler

The 'Nushagak River Traditional Use Area Conservation Plan' assembles Yup'ik place names and traditional knowledge to help guide conservation in the Bristol Bay region. © Clark James Mishler

Tim Troll of the Conservancy’s Southwest Alaska program met with Native elders in the Yup’ik village of Koliganek, pop. 170, to discuss important traditional use areas. © Clark James Mishler

The Nushagak-Mulchatna Watershed Council, a Conservancy partner, identified the most important traditional resources in the region. These include salmon, caribou, waterfowl and other wildlife. Five local villages from the Nushagak-Mulchatna river watershed participated in the project in the winter of 2005-2006. © Clark James Mishler

Elders discussed the most important traditional resources in the Nushagak region with members of the Conservancy's team. These contributions are assembled in the 'Nushagak River Traditional Use Area Conservation Plan.' © Clark James Mishler

Elia Ishnook of the village of Koliganek. © Clark James Mishler

Elia Ishnook pores over a map of the Nushagak with Yup’ik translator Francesca Yanez in the village of Koliganek. © Clark James Mishler

Elia Ishnook shares photographs of his parents in his home in Koliganek. © Clark James Mishler

Beached skiffs at the village of New Stuyahok in winter. © Clark James Mishler

Salmon hang on a drying rack at a Nushagak River fish camp. Bristol Bay's average run of wild sockeye salmon averaged 43 million from 2004-2008. © Clark James Mishler

The natural abundance of Bristol Bay that supports a subsistence tradition in the region’s Native communities depends on healthy habitat. © Clark James Mishler


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