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:

  • My Alaskan Experience: Nora McGinn

    My Alaskan Experience: Nora McGinn

    Nora McGinn is a Junior in the Environmental Studies program at Knox College in Illinois.      

    Read more →

  • The Sitka Conservation Society’s Wild Foods Potluck 2012

    The Sitka Conservation Society’s Wild Foods Potluck 2012

    Join us at the SCS Annual Wild Foods Potluck November 29th, 5:00-7:30 pm at Harrigan Centennial Hall This free, community event gives everyone a chance to come together and share meals made with locally foraged food, from fish and wild game to seaweed, berries and other traditional subsistence foods. All folks are asked to bring [...]

    Read more →

  • Salmon Capital:  The Tongass National Forest

    Salmon Capital: The Tongass National Forest

    Sitka Conservation Society board member Richard Nelson spoke on salmon during Sitka Whalefest on the theme of “Cold Rivers to the Sea: Terrestrial Connections to our Northern Oceans.”  He spoke on the subject of one of the greatest manifestations of the connection between the terrestrial forests and the oceans:  our Wild Alaska Salmon. His eloquent [...]

    Read more →

  • Starrigavan Stream Team 2012

    Starrigavan Stream Team 2012

    It’s November and the salmon eggs are all nestled in their gravel beds, but we can still dream of next year’s Blatchley Stream Team by watching this very cool video! Each May, over 100 Blatchley 7th Graders participate in Stream Team, where they help restore fish habitat and monitor stream health. This annual event is [...]

    Read more →

  • Starrigavan Creek Cabin

    Starrigavan Creek Cabin

    Starrigavan Creek Cabin The Starrigavan Creek Cabin is not only the most popular cabin in the Tongass National Forest, it’s also a tangible example of how sustainable second growth timber harvest can be utilized. Who needs old growth harvests when such beautiful things can be built with sustainable second growth? Even building the cabin was [...]

    Read more →

  • How do YOU think our forests and watersheds should be managed?

    How do YOU think our forests and watersheds should be managed?

    We want to know your thoughts and ideas about how our forests and watersheds should be managed! Do you kayak in Silver Bay? Hike along Indian River? Hunt on Kruzof? These are the places you know and love: how do you want to see them managed? How do you think restoration and management should be [...]

    Read more →

  • Angoon Watershed Crew reconnects with the Sitkoh River

    Angoon Watershed Crew reconnects with the Sitkoh River

    Surveying salmon streams on the Tongass National Forest is no easy task – it involves lugging heavy survey gear, tripods, marking stakes, and other gear through dense young growth forests and wading up to our hips in frigid water.  Last month, Scott Harris, Watershed Program Manager for the Sitka Conservation Society, worked with the Angoon [...]

    Read more →

  • Meet the Staff

    Meet the Staff

    Click here to hear Natalia, Ray, and Courtney on Raven Radio’s Morning Interview Sitka Conservation Society staffers Natalia Povelite (Tongass salmon organizer), Ray Friedlander (Tongass forest organizer), and Courtney Bobsin (Jesuit Volunteer, Fish-to-Schools) discuss their respective projects, and why they chose to work in Sitka.

    Read more →

  • Restoring Forests on Kruzof Island

    Restoring Forests on Kruzof Island

    Kruzof island is a defining characteristic of the landscape of Sitka. This diverse and wild island is home to the emblematic profile of Mt. Edgecumbe volcano, mountains and craters, thousands of acres of muskeg, and a wild and rugged coastline. It is one of the Tongass National Forest’s most impressive landscapes, as well as one [...]

    Read more →

  • Sitka, AK – Where Theory Meets Practice

    Sitka, AK – Where Theory Meets Practice

    In July of 2012, thirteen undergraduate students from Knox College embarked on a 15-day wilderness expedition into the wilds of Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.  The trip was part of a semester long course entitled “Alaska: Forest, Fisheries, and the Politics of Wilderness”.  The course entailed an in-depth study of the history of natural resource [...]

    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