Surveying local streams for addition to the state’s Anadromous Waters Catalog

RBCA Salmon Surveys a success!

After working on various watershed programs in the Seward area for 7 years, RBCA identified several small-order streams that are very likely to support salmon species but are not listed in the State’s Anadromous Waters Catalog. Listing in the Catalog provides streams an additional layer of protection. We have also identified two streams that are not mapped accurately in the Catalog and where development is occurring; causing negative impacts. The US Fish and Wildlife Service recently awarded RBCA a grant to thoroughly survey these creeks, and to provide salmon-related educational opportunities for local and traveling youth groups. RBCA has also discussed the fact that most of the Seward area Catalog is twenty to thirty years old with the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game (ADF&G) Sport Fish Biologist. ADF&G has surveyed several specific streams over the years and hopes to repeat work soon. ADF&G has requested our assistance in completing salmon spawning surveys in the fall of 2014.

This fall (2013), RBCA worked with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s (ADF&G) Kenai office to conduct surveys of salmonid species in 2 tributaries of Japanese Creek. Although both were suspected of being anadramous, neither one had been verified in the past. Matt Gray, RBCA’s watershed coordinator, along with an ADF&G field biologist & visiting high school youth groups placed minnow traps in several areas along the length of the creeks in order to capture smolt. The trapping was a success and they were able to document Dolly Varden & Coho salmonids along the length of both creeks. These tributaries will now be listed in ADF&G’s Anadramous Water Catalog (AWC) & will be protected from negative impacts such as development. Much of the AWC data of waterways in the Seward area is 20-30 years old & new tributaries have formed in those ensuing years. RBCA hopes to be able to continue surveying other local creeks in order to determine their anadramous status and afford them the protection they deserve.

RBCA would like to thank the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Mountaineers Foundation for providing funding that made this project possible.

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By teaching youth about the methods use to catch and identify juvenile salmon they will get firsthand knowledge on the salmon life cycle as well a habitat issues.
Some youth educational programs were conducted in August of 2012. Due to the September floods, the remaining anadromous surveys had to be postponed until the summer and fall of 2013.

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