A visual update on our work to secure protections for steelhead in Southeast Alaska
Entering its fifth year, our Alaska Fish Habitat Mapping and Community Science Project is an ongoing effort by Trout Unlimited and Wild Steelheaders United staff and volunteers to expand Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s (ADFG) Anadromous Waters Catalog (AWC) by documenting previously unknown anadromous waters and species in Southeast Alaska.
As we’ve shared previously on our blog and in our short film, this work is critical for not just documenting and adding stream miles and species to the AWC, but also adding protections for all streams and species by accounting for the variation in migration and spawn timing, along with varied habitat use.
During the 2022 field season, the project engaged 18 volunteer observers for a total of 172 hours over 10 survey days and conducted 4 additional surveys without volunteer assistance. In aggregate, these surveys resulted in 16 AWC nominations for species and/or waters additions, with a net total of over 73,500 feet (nearly 14 miles) of anadromous habitat in 20 water bodies (including two new steelhead streams!). With the 2022 nominations, this project has added over 356,000 feet (over 67.4 miles) of waters/species to the AWC since its inception in 2018.
What follows are some of the words and images that first appeared in the Umpqua Feather Merchants 2021 product catalog (“Indexing the Tongass: Signature Tyer Mark Hieronymus”). We’ve added some additional detail and photographs in this expanded version, with all pictures credited to Trout Unlimited.
We at TU thank Umpqua for all they have done to our support steelhead and salmon habitat in Alaska and the Lower 48.
For the last five years, Mark has been documenting steelhead habitat use in waters with no previous AWC listing of the species. Accompanied on various trips by our staff, donors, chapter volunteers, as well as state and federal agency biologists, Mark has gathered the required data and submitted nominations for the inclusion of steelhead in 12 rivers and one lake. In addition to directed observations, Mark has assisted in the process of preparing geospatial data and nominations for the inclusion of steelhead in two additional rivers and one lake based on observations by community science data collectors. Steelhead habitat documentation is but one facet of the Alaska Fish Habitat Mapping Project, which has added over 356,000 feet (over 67.4 miles) of waters/species to the AWC since its inception in 2018.