Sitka Conservation Society

Forest and Stream Restoration

Extensive clear-cut logging in the Sitka Ranger District from the 1950s to the 1990s caused a fast-paced, even-aged growth of new conifers and other plants that is now impairing habitat for animals like the Sitka black-tailed deer. By creating a dense mass of trees that can shade out understory forage for deer, bear, and other wildlife for over 100 years, “second growth” forests diminish our subsistence resources and the normally top-notch functioning of Tongass ecosystems.

With restoration thinning, we can help re-create the light-filled environment of mature old-growth forests and greatly improve habitat for some of our most important subsistence resources. Restoration thinning can also lead to opportunities in the form of selling or otherwise using the timber “byproducts,” and stewardship contracting is an innovative way to achieve this.

Alaska’s salmon resource was also impacted by past logging practices. Before changes were implemented in 1990, approximately 500 miles of streamside habitat in Southeast Alaska was logged – in most cases leading to the loss of critical spawning and rearing habitat for salmon. Unmaintained roads and trails have also blocked fish passage to upstream habitat.

Stream restoration includes replacing or removing bridges and culverts that block fish passage and replacing large wood in streams that create rearing habitat for fish. These activities can have immediate positive effects and help rebuild the Tongass’ reputation as the “Salmon Forest”.

Sitkoh River Restoration

The Sitka Conservation Society, Trout Unlimited, and the US Forest Service, in conjunction with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Sustainable Salmon Fund, have committed resources to conduct a multi-year salmon habitat restoration program on the Sitkoh River. A construction contract was awarded in 2011. In-stream work will begin in Spring 2012 and be completed by mid-Summer.

 

Starrigavan

In the Spring of 2011, the Sitka Conservation Society partnered with the Tongass National Forest to conduct wildlife habitat restoration in the young growth forests of Starrigavan Valley. Funding was provided by the National Forest Foundation and SCS. This project achieved multiple stewardship objectives

 

 

Stream Team

Each May in Starrigavan Valley, nearly 100 7th Graders from Blatchley Middle School in Sitka spend a couple days doing hands-on stream restoration and monitoring. In the classroom, the students learn about watershed ecology and salmon habitat. Then they hit the field and help professional watershed managers actually install in-stream wood structures to rebuild fish habitat.

 

 

 

 

Related Posts:

  • America’s Salmon Forest at the AK Forum Film Fest

    America’s Salmon Forest at the AK Forum Film Fest

    SCS’s short documentary Restoring America’s Salmon Forest was selected to show at the Alaska Forum on the Environment Film Festival on Friday, February 8, 2013 in Anchorage.  The film focuses on a multi-agency effort to increase salmon returns on the Sitkoh River in Southeast Alaska’s Chichagof Island, by improving the spawning and rearing habitat and [...]

    Read more →

  • Review of Forest Restoration in the Tongass

    Review of Forest Restoration in the Tongass

    Bob Christensen, original member of SCS’s Groundtruthing Project team, recently completed a comprehensive review of forest restoration methods for The Wilderness Society. This very readable work provides a thorough background of the why, how, and where of restoring forest habitats in the Tongass National Forest. It also describes a concise method for prioritizing restoration locations [...]

    Read more →

  • Guide to Tongass Young Growth Timber

    Guide to Tongass Young Growth Timber

    This school year, SCS partnered with the Sitka High School Construction Tech program to explore and demonstrate ways that young-growth red alder and Sitka spruce from the Tongass can be used in building and woodworking. The projects that resulted are profiled, along with others from throughout the region, in “Alaskan Grown: A Guide to Tongass [...]

    Read more →

  • Restoration Priorities in the Sitka Community Use Area

    Restoration Priorities in the Sitka Community Use Area

    The survey results are in. And the winner is….. Katlian River! We conducted a survey of Sitkans to identify community priorities for stream and forest restoration. Other places within the top 5 include Shelikof Creek (seen in the photo here), and Nakwasina River. Our survey also identified the values and activities that are most important [...]

    Read more →

  • The Next Restoration Opportunity – Kruzof Island

    The Next Restoration Opportunity – Kruzof Island

    On January 16, 2013 at 6:30pm at Centennial Hall, Sitkans can share their ideas and priorities with the Forest Service regarding the future management of Kruzof Island. Over the next few years, multiple habitat restoration, timber management, and recreational developments and maintenance can occur on Kruzof Island. The community survey we conducted also identified the [...]

    Read more →

  • Second-growth in High School Wood Shop

    Second-growth in High School Wood Shop

    Since the Forest Service first announced its Tongass Transition Framework in early 2010, the Sitka Conservation Society has both partnered with the agency and sought models to demonstrate ways Tongass second growth timber can be used locally and sustainably.  We know there is a significant interest in the use of local wood, and we believe [...]

    Read more →

  • Salmon Community

    Salmon Community

    Salmon are the backbone of the economy and the way-of-life in Southeast Alaska.  Many of our regional leaders recognize the importance of salmon for Southeast Alaska and recently worked with the Sitka Conservation Society to articulate why Salmon are important and the efforts they are taking to protect and sustain our Wild Salmon Populations.  With [...]

    Read more →

  • Take Action: Tell the Forest Service to follow through

    Take Action: Tell the Forest Service to follow through

    Background: The US Forest Service has adopted the Tongass Transition Framework, a program intended to shift forest management away from the out-dated and ill-fated old growth logging paradigm toward management that support multiple uses of the forest, including recreation, restoration, subsistence, and second-growth management.  This is an encouraging recognition of the region’s important natural resources, [...]

    Read more →

  • What’s in Store for North Kruzof?

    What’s in Store for North Kruzof?

    We see it just about every day, and the time is coming for us to pay a little closer attention to it: Kruzof Island North Kruzof is the next item on the Forest Service agenda for a new management plan. But what does the Forest Service have in mind for north Kruzof? Something called an Integrated [...]

    Read more →

  • Putting the Public Back in “Public Lands”

    Putting the Public Back in “Public Lands”

    Growing up in Minnesota, and having just spent the last three years in North Carolina, hearing or reading the term “public lands” brings to mind some pretty specific notions and memories, most of which include traveling a long distance, paying entrance or vehicle fees, rangers and managers who varied from enthusiastic to ornery, and usually [...]

    Read more →

Follow Us
Get Updates
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Newsletter and updates


Take Action Now
Take Action

Blog
Keep up to date on all of the issues. Check out "The Southeaster" Blog.

  • Hungry for Huckleberry Pie, Venison Stew, or Fresh Greens? Come to the Wild Foods Potluck Nov. 2!
  • Stand Up to Corporate Influence!
  • Kayaking Kootznoowoo: Report on SCS’s Final Wilderness Trip
  • Encouraging Local Natural Resource Stewardship on the Tongass: Kennel Creek
  • Teaching the Alaska way of Life: 4-H in Sitka
Get Involved
Get Involved