Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Importance of Salmon Habitat

Protection of salmon habitat ranks very high with the majority of Alaskans, according to results of a poll released this week in Juneau by The Nature Conservancy. The non-profit conservation group leads salmon habitat projects in Bristol Bay, the Matanuska-Susitna Basin in Southcentral Alaska and the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska.

Ninety-six percent of some 500 registered voters polled said salmon are essential to the Alaskan way of life and an important part of the state’s economy. Nature Conservancy spokesman Randy Hagenstein said that across the board, Alaskans truly understand the kind of habitat salmon need and support investment needed to keep that habitat healthy.

Mark Kaelke, project director for Trout Unlimited in Southeast Alaska, said those poll numbers show that Alaskans view salmon as an icon “that defines us as a state.
“The poll shows the overwhelming majority of residents here understand healthy rivers and streams are key to salmon abundance, and they support lawmakers who continue to make salmon protection a priority.”

And this, added Kaelke, “is definitely something our elected officials need to understand and put into action.”

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