The U.S. Forest Service has proposed restoring protections for more than 9 million acres of roadless areas in southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, one of the last places on the planet where wild steelhead still thrive.
Our Alaska team reports back on their work this spring observing steelhead using available habitat and our efforts to document that use for species inclusion in Alaska’s Anadromous Waters Catalog.
By ending industrial old-growth logging and investing in restoration, USFS protects both known and unknown steelhead habitat.
Southeast Alaska is home to around 325 known steelhead streams. But Mark Hieronymus, Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Science Coordinator, believes the true number is probably twice that. However, that’s a problem because if steelhead aren’t listed in the Alaska Department of Fish & Game Anadromous Waters Catalog (AWC) for that particular river, their habitat isn’t afforded the conservation measures they deserve.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), 322 of Southeast Alaska’s 5,000+ anadromous waterways (waters that support ocean-going fish like salmon and steelhead) are officially recognized as supporting annul escapements (or runs) of steelhead. The “officially recognized” part is key, as this means they are included in the ADFG Anadromous Waters Catalog (AWC). We believe there are many more than 322 that are not documented …