In the Matanuska-Susitna Basin, the magnitude of the landscape is matched only by the riches of its salmon streams. Each summer, millions of salmon return to the mighty Matanuska and Susitna rivers and the vast web of lakes and tributaries of the landscape we call home: The Mat-Su.
Those of us who live here know it is a spectacular place. It is an incredibly diverse landscape – beyond our shopping centers and neighborhoods lie the forests of birch and spruce and expanses of tundra that ultimately rise up to the snowy elevations of Denali, the Great One.
All five species of salmon – Chinook, coho, sockeye, pink and chum – surge up the waters of the Mat-Su each year. In the Susitna River drainage, from 100,000-200,000 king salmon return each year, making it Alaska’s fourth-largest king salmon fishery – among the largest in the world. Taken together, the annual pulse of Mat-Su salmon numbers in the millions.
It’s difficult to imagine life in the Mat-Su without salmon. Nature runs on salmon – and our economy does, too. Salmon feed families in more ways than one. Subsistence fishing is a vital tradition, while commercial fishing and sportfishing help anchor the local economy.
- For more information about the Matanuska-Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership and current news visit www.matsusalmon.org.
- View the innovative Mat-Su Salmon Watersheds Map Atlas. The 22 maps that comprise this map atlas represent information that shows watersheds based on their biological value to salmon and their vulnerability to human activities in the Mat-Su. This is important information for salmon conservation planning.
Taking Action: Mat-Su Basin Salmon Partnership goals:
- Complete a comprehensive assessment of Mat-Su watersheds, including a prioritization of fish habitat protections, restoration and enhancement needs;
- Coordinate an outreach and education campaign, and establish an organized network of volunteers, organizations, agencies and businesses working on watershed issues;
- Restore key fish habitat by revegetating damaged stream banks, creating fish-and-people-friendly fishing areas, removing barriers to fish passage, and reestablishing natural stream structure and flow;
- Protect threatened essential fish habitats and public access by working with willing landowners to acquire habitat and conservation easements;
- Improve management of habitat on public lands by increasing coordination between local, state and federal partners; and
- Leverage significant private and public funding in the achievement of the partnership goals for watershed and salmon conservation.
Strategic Action Plan of the Mat-Su Salmon Habitat Partnership