Watershed Awareness In Haines

The projects, programs and activities of the Takshanuk Watershed Council

Stream Characterization Study:

Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC) has been working in the Chilkat, Chilkoot, and Ferebee watersheds to complete an assessment of salmon distribution and stream classification.  This project has been ongoing for the past five years.  Geographic information systems (GIS) technology is being used to correlate salmon distributions with the stream characteristics they use.  Streams are being mapped, categorized, and trapped to provide information that TWC will analyze to develop an analytical framework for assessing characteristics of small systems that are important to the production of salmon.

The goals of this project will expand the Anadromous Waters Catalog (AWC) through hand netting and minnow trapping of juvenile salmon.  These same streams will be characterized using the ADF&G Sport Fish Region I Stream Survey User Guide.  This data will be entered into TWC’s GIS and will serve to populate a model designed to correlate stream characterization with salmon rearing and spawning habitats.

Chilkoot Salmon Distribution Study:

This project will identify and analyze the locations and patterns of salmonid species in the Upper Chilkoot Valley, one of two major watersheds supporting subsistence fisheries in the Haines area.  The work will continue previous assessment work by Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC) that focused on the lower portion of the Chilkoot Valley.  This project will expand the geographic scope of the work and complete mapping of the Anadromous Waters Catalog (AWC) in the valley.

The goals of this project are to complete the mapping and characterization of wetlands and the main stem and tributaries of the Chilkoot River from the north end of Chilkoot Lake to the northern end of anadromous fish habitat.  Through minnow trapping and hand netting of juvenile salmon and visual observation of adult salmon, TWC will gather data and produce a thorough map of salmon distribution throughout the upper valley.  This information will be submitted to ADF&G for inclusion in the AWC.

Stream Gauging:

Takshnuk Watershed Council is working with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to make an in-stream flow reservation for Sawmill and One-Mile Creek.  Both Sawmill and One-mile Creek have been listed in the Alaska’s impaired waterbodies catalog and this in-stream flow reservation will go a long ways in improving the health of these two streams.  Five years of monthly discharge measurements (to be completed December of 2010) will be taken for each stream.  A hydrologic rating curve will then be produced to correlate the stream gauge with stream discharge.  With this knowledge, an in-stream flow reservation can be applied for.  The success of this project will be determined by the successful filing of the in-stream flow reservation.

TWC is also taking a more extensive look at Sawmill Creek and is using a community based approach towards improving the health of this abused stream.  TWC started working on this project in 2002 with a large scale clean up that removed tons of garbage including old vehicles, tires, scrap metal and a large assortment of other junk.  In 2003, a 150-meter section of Sawmill Creek was reconstructed and a stream survey following the ADF&G stream survey protocol was conducted.  The monitoring of this stretch of stream has been incorporated into the curriculum of the local school system.  Currently TWC is also working on a plan to decrease the amount of sediment that is being delivered into Sawmill Creek via roadways and streamside runoff by working with the various landowners to contain these sediment sources.  These outreach components of the project are working towards gaining the support for Sawmill Creek and raising the awareness of stream health in the local schools and community.