The Nature Conservancy works with willing landowners to identify and conserve important habitat. Healthy riparian habitat, in particular, is essential for salmon to thrive. The Conservancy has already been at work in the region for several years, assisting in establishing both the Nushagak/Mulchatna and Wood/Tikchik Land Trust and Nushagak-Mulchatna Watershed Council. The Conservancy also protected key private inholdings within public lands at places like Lower Talarik Creek. Now, the Conservancy is working with Native villages and the landowners of individual Native allotments to explore protection for important riparian habitat along the lower Nushagak River and its tributaries--the location of much of the private land in the watershed.
The strongest and most comprehensive protections for salmon in Alaska come from the Anadromous Fish Act, but if a salmon stream has not been catalogued in the Anadromous Waters Catalog, those protections do not apply. Because field surveys are very costly and much of Alaska is extremely remote, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) estimates that roughly 50% of Alaska's water bodies have not been catalogued.
The Conservancy is working in partnership with ADF&G to
Changes in water flow and quantity have been a key factor in the destruction of salmon runs in the lower 48 states where dams have disrupted water flow and created significant barriers to fish passage and withdrawals of water for agriculture and industry have reduce flow and raised water temperatures. Alaska has forward-looking instream flow laws that allow the reservation of water in a lake or stream to protect fish. However, it is expensive and time consuming to establish such instream flow reservations. The Conservancy is taking two approaches to instream flow reservations:
Applications for instream flow on the following streams are pending:
June 14, 2011