We all know the Little Susitna River for its salmon. For a lot of young people in the Matanuska-Susitna Basin, the Little Su and its tributaries serve as an outdoor classroom, too.
For four years now, The Nature Conservancy has been at work on tributary streams to make sure that they’re safe for salmon. How? By taking out culverts that block the movements of young salmon and replacing them with new arched pipes that give salmon the freedom to travel far into habitat that would otherwise be lost to them.
This work takes a lot of heavy equipment, but it also calls for stream monitoring and restoring streamsides with native plants and trees. College interns from ConocoPhillips have replanted restoration sites. Girl Scouts and middle school science students monitor the most slender of tributary streams for salmon fry and aquatic life. Natural Resources Conservation Service Youth Conservation Corps teens have put shovels to work to make waters safe for salmon once again. With boots on the ground—and in the water—young people are making a difference in the MatSu.