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The Bering Cisco (Coregonus laurettae) is endemic to Alaska and is present primarily along the State’s west and north coasts. It is known to spawn in only three river systems – the Yukon, Kuskokwim, and Susitna Rivers. Genetic research indicates that each of these populations is distinct. The Bering Cisco has been observed to migrate more than 1,200 miles into freshwater streams to spawn. Unlike salmon, some of these fish survive spawning runs. Since this species is slow-growing but short-lived, it is highly vulnerable to alterations in stream flow or water quality and large-scale environmental disasters.
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Forty-three percent of the surface area of Alaska is wetlands. On a state-wide basis, less than 2 percent of all wetlands have been developed. However, in many developing areas and communities, wetlands may be the only land type available for development. In urbanized and developed areas of Alaska, such as the Anchorage Bowl, it is estimated that over half of the wetlands have been lost to transportation corridor construction, utility installation, buildings, and other development projects. Wetland loss fragments habitat and disrupts migration of fish that use wetlands as resting places on their lengthy migrations, and it is also critical rearing habitat for young salmon. Wetland loss is also linked to altered native...
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Most of Alaska has an abundance of unaltered clean fresh water habitat that maintain remarkable self-sustaining fish populations requiring water flows in the proper amount at the right time. These habitats face an increasing number of demands. New hydroelectric projects, such as the recently proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project, and the expansion of existing projects can, if not very carefully sited and designed, increase barriers to fish migration and create adverse hydrologic and sediment effects on streams that provide critical spawning and rearing habitat for self-sustaining salmon populations. These potential barriers are not just an issue for fish but the entire ecosystem as everything from trees...
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A greater percentage of Alaskan residents fish (53 percent in 2011) than residents of any other State. Alaska’s largest private sector employer is commercial fishing with total annual landings of fish products of 79 billion pounds (36 million metric tons). Nearly all of these fish are from self-sustaining populations. In 1867, the United States Secretary of State William H. Seward offered Russia $7,200,000, or two cents per acre, for Alaska. The State of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times. Most of America's salmon, crab, halibut, and herring come from Alaska. The State's coastline extends more than 6,600 miles. Alaska is the largest State in the United States and is more than twice the size of Texas.
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Five National Fish Habitat Partnerships are working to protect intact and improve altered fish habitat in Alaska including: 1) Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership; 2) Matanuska-Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership; 3) Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership; 4) Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership; and 5) Western Native Trout Initiative. The results of some of their work includes: Removed 17 fish passage barriers on high priority salmon streams in the Anchorage area, opening 54 miles of upstream habitat and access to 604 acres of lakes, all critical rearing areas for Pacific salmon and other salmonids. Worked with partners and private landowners to voluntarily protect nearly 8,000 acres of...
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Map of the risk of current fish habitat degradation of inland streams of Alaska (HUC-12).
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Although Alaska has substantial intact habitats, issues quickly appear in areas associated with development. The Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus) requires large intact reaches of river to thrive. Some populations are stressed in developed areas as a result of habitat loss due to poorly designed road crossings that fragment streams along with poorly conducted mining, agricultural, and forestry practices.
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Alaska is the largest state in the United States (586,412 square miles) and has a diverse array of fish habitats including most of the nation’s intact and highest condition fish habitat. Alaska has an estimated 46,882 miles of coastal shoreline, more than 3 million lakes, and at least 365,000 miles of rivers and streams. Pacific salmon (five species), pollock, halibut, Pacific cod, king crab, and many other species support robust subsistence, recreational, and commercial fisheries, nearly all of which come from self-sustaining wild populations. For Alaskans, fishing is an integral part of their heritage and culture and an important means of supporting their families. The inland assessment for Alaska focuses on...
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Alaska’s economy depends on extraction of natural resources such as fish, minerals, and timber. Gold, silver, oil, natural gas, and products such as gravel are extracted from streams, riparian zones (shoreline areas), and nearshore waters using a variety of methods that have both direct and indirect effects on fish habitats. A recent study estimated that up to 94 miles of streams and 5,350 acres of other aquatic habitats would be directly destroyed by routine operation of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay tributaries. Bristol Bay was forecast in 2015 to produce 54 million sockeye salmon, almost 50 percent of the world’s wild sockeye salmon. Another proposed project on the west side of Cook Inlet, the Chuitna...
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Chinook Salmon ( Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is the largest-sized salmon species in the world and Alaska is a stronghold of self-sustaining populations. Since 2007, Chinook Salmon populations have been returning in fewer numbers to many Alaskan rivers throughout the State. This may be a result of intense fishing, poor ocean survival, and habitat loss and degradation in developing parts of the State, but because declines are so widespread, it could be a marine-derived problem. Scientists are currently working to determine the specific cause.
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Partnership - Matanuska-Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership Alexander Creek Watershed, a tributary of the Susitna River, was formerly a significant sport fishing area covering hundreds of square miles in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. In the late 1990s, this system was considered to be a highly productive Chinook and Coho Salmon habitat, and, arguably, the premier Chinook Salmon sport fishing area in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Today, however, due to low returns, the Alexander Creek drainage is closed to Chinook Salmon harvest, and Alexander Creek Chinook Salmon are considered a stock of concern by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. This decline is largely due to the introduction of Northern Pike (...
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Partnership - Matanuska-Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership Montana Creek, near Talkeetna, Alaska in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough has been identified by the State of Alaska as important for the spawning, rearing, or migration of anadromous fish. This system has high quality spawning gravels and provides critical spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitats for Chinook, Coho, Pink, and Chum Salmon as well as resident populations of Rainbow Trout and Arctic Grayling. It receives heavy angling attention during the summer months and is the focus of a variety of ongoing habitat and fish assessment projects, streambank restoration activities, as well as land conservation activities and community asset planning....


    map background search result map search result map Fish Habitat Partnerships Making a Difference in Alexander Creek, Alaska Habitat Trouble for Chinook Salmon in Alaska Habitat Trouble for Arctic Grayling in Alaska Fish Habitat Partnerships Making a Difference in Montana Creek, Alaska Description of Competing Freshwater Demands as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Alaska Alaska - Risk of Current Alteration Map (HUC-12) Description of Urban Land Use as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Alaska Description of Resource Extraction as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership Activities for Alaska Facts About Alaska Summary of Scientific Findings for Alaska Fish Habitat Partnerships Making a Difference in Alexander Creek, Alaska Habitat Trouble for Chinook Salmon in Alaska Habitat Trouble for Arctic Grayling in Alaska Fish Habitat Partnerships Making a Difference in Montana Creek, Alaska Description of Competing Freshwater Demands as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Alaska Alaska - Risk of Current Alteration Map (HUC-12) Description of Urban Land Use as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Alaska Description of Resource Extraction as a Human Activity Affecting Fish Habitat in Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership Activities for Alaska Facts About Alaska Summary of Scientific Findings for Alaska