A major salmon river restoration project in the Tongass National Forest, on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska is now completed. The project has taken seven years and cost $3.5 million. It is being hailed by conservation groups, including Trout Unlimited, the Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy for its success.
The Harris river and one of its Tributaries, Fubar Creek, were heavily impacted by clear-cut logging in decades prior to passage of laws requiring that loggers avoid stream banks and riparian areas, not drag fallen timber down salmon streams and adhere to other standards to protect fish habitat. Harris and Fubar, important salmon, steelhead, trout and Dolly Varden char producers, suffered damage including major erosion and blocked fish passage. The multi-year effort led by the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy, with support from Trout Unlimited and other partners, has restored these rivers to their near-original condition.
A celebration to mark the project’s completion is set for Aug. 25 at Craig. US Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman is expected to attend.
Trout Unlimited’s Tim Bristol hailed the restoration project as a model for the type of work needed in Tongass National Forest, to improve fish habitat for commercial, sport and subsistence fisherman, while creating local jobs and involving residents in collaborative resource management.