A small victory in the Chilkat! Alaska had been trying to fast track a major highway upgrade in the transboundary Chilkat watershed near Haines. This expensive unnecessary transportation construction should be opposed on fiscal grounds alone.
But it would also impact North America’s world renowned Bald Eagle Preserve. It would disturb critical eagle habitat, and degrade the salmon habitat on which the eagles depend. Rivers Without Borders and our local partner, Lynn Canal Conservation, worked quickly to generate concern and get a flurry of diverse public and agency comment letters submitted to the state. The state received more than 250 comments which impacted funding, and it has been forced to delay the project.
For more on the Chilkat and its Bald Eagle Preserve, go to http://riverswithoutborders.org/about-the-region/chilkat
Stephen Hume writes about the 2010 forecast for BC salmon runs, and shows that salmon populations are in a precarious position, province-wide.
Wild salmon advocates from both Canada and the U.S. are calling on the province of British Columbia and the Taku River Tlingit First Nation to put the ecological needs of salmon foremost in the ongoing land use planning process. Alarming reports of salmon declines in the Fraser River have been a wake up call for efforts to protect salmon habitat in the Taku.
The Taku watershed is widely recognized as the B.C.–Alaska transboundary region’s most significant salmon system. Hosting robust populations of the five Pacific salmon species, it is fully intact and nearly pristine (some acid mine drainage from the abandoned Tulsequah mine site being the notable exception). The Taku requires little management other than the vision to keep it the extraordinary salmon asset that it is.
This article by Mark Hume at the Globe and Mail is part of an ongoing series of stories on the intricate relationships of salmon, bears, and entire ecosystems. In this piece, Hume discusses "salmon forests" and the critical and intricate connection of each piece of an ecosystem to the others, in particular bears and salmon.
This Globe and Mail article by Mark Hume discusses a report out of Washington State that studied the relationship of salmon to the surrounding ecosystems and found nine species "so dependent on salmon their “distribution, viability, abundance and/or population status” was decided by the availability of the fish."
While traveling to the latest Taku Land Use Planning meeting in Atlin, British Columbia, I picked up a copy of the Globe and Mail. A front page story (9/9/09) had this headline: “Bearing the brunt of an ecological crisis: Grizzlies starve as salmon disappear.” The article linked an alarming drop in grizzly bear observations in the central coast region of the Province to dwindling salmon runs.
British Columbia’s wild salmon crisis, following the collapse of salmon fisheries in Washington, Oregon, and California, is not new news, as the subject has received extensive coverage in recent months. And the connection to bears, though a new twist, was not about the transboundary Taku region. Nonetheless, the article underscored perfectly why I was bound for Atlin to engage in the Taku Land Use Planning Process, and why Rivers Without Borders feels that the outcome of this process, determining the fate of the Taku, is so critical.
The Taku watershed represents some of British Columbia and southeast Alaska’s most significant wild salmon habitat. Its 3700 km’s support strong populations of all five native Pacific salmon species. As salmon stocks plunge in heavily impacted watersheds to the south, and climate change pressures become increasingly evident, the spectacular and remote Taku stands out as one of North America’s premier wild salmon strongholds because it is entirely intact, complete, and essentially pristine.
Likewise, the Taku is widely recognized as an exceptional salmon-grizzly bear system supporting Ursus arctos in robust numbers. Where bears are doing well, other iconic northern wildlife – moose, caribou, thinhorn sheep, mountain goats – also thrive.
The Taku is a fully functioning natural ecosystem working perfectly. Rivers Without Borders is committed to doing all it can to keep it that way. And while we want to raise awareness about the Taku and its conservation potential, we are striving to keep it out of the news as well. .
The fallout from compromised ecosystems and bad management takes its toll on salmon – and now on bears. Read the full story in the Globe and Mail.
reprinted from the Juneau Empire
Spawning grounds stock derby catch: State biologists collect salmon data with fish wheels, spaghetti tags
CANYON ISLAND – Derby salmon wouldn’t be so plentiful if not for the spawning grounds up the Taku River, where state biologists maintain one of the best-managed salmon-rearing rivers in the country.
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game runs a fish camp on Canyon Island near the Canada border where it gathers data to estimate the number of spawning king, sockeye, pink, chum and coho by using fish wheels to capture the salmon for tagging, part of an annual stock assessment program.
The department works with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Taku River Tlingit First Nation to ensure there is a healthy stock of fish for aboriginal, recreational and commercial uses.