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Wild Salmon and Native Culture

Conservation in Alaska with Indigenous Partnerships

"Most everyone relies on the salmon resources for subsistence purposes."

Bobby Andrew, member of the Conservancy-supported Nushagak-Mulchatna Watershed Council

The Conservancy, Curyung Tribe of Dillingham, Bristol Bay Native Association, and Nushagak-Mulchatna Watershed Council helped the Conservancy create a conservation plan that learns from the millennia-old subsistence tradition in Bristol Bay. “The Nushagak River Watershed Traditional Use Area Conservation Plan” shows how traditional ecological knowledge helps to establish conservation priorities. “The information contained in Yup’ik place names can tell us a lot about its habitat value. These place names, when combined with the traditional ecological knowledge of Native people who live subsistence lifestyles, help to direct the efforts of conservation science,” says Tim Troll, who directs the Conservancy’s program in Southwest Alaska.

Restoring Habitat for Salmon Renews Tradition

A partnership with the Chickaloon Native Traditional Council has helped restore Moose Creek – allowing Chinook and other salmon access to dozens of miles of once lost spawning and rearing habitat.

“People have always awaited the return of the spawning salmon. It’s a yearly miracle that everyone witnesses. It’s the talk of the neighborhood. But now, it’s different. The thing that’s changed is that now, we get reports of salmon in new upstream habitat. That’s good news for us to hear. If you build habitat, the fish will find it,” says Angie Wade, who directs the environmental program for her tribe, the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council.

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