The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

The Gustavus Alaska Fish Passage Project

Three fish passage projects in Alaska will receive more than $3.5 million in fiscal year 2022 funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The projects are located in the Valdez-Cordova Borough, Tyonek and Gustavus. The Gustavus project is expected to begin this year approximately around August 15.

Gustavus is situated on the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit. This community is situated in the northern part of the Southeast Alaska panhandle adjacent to Glacier Bay National Park, the Tongass National Forest, and the Alaska Marine Highway. Salmon are integral to the ecology and culture here, nourishing the streams, people, and wildlife that call this place home.

Partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, City of Gustavus, Trout Unlimited, Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have been working together for many years to restore aquatic connectivity and fish passage in Gustavus via a series of culvert-to-bridge and other fish passage projects.

An undersized culvert on Harry Hall Creek at Grandpa’s Farm Road is the final piece of the puzzle. Isostatic rebound, where land rises after heavy ice sheets retreat, is causing a too-small culvert to become more “perched” above the creek over time. In addition to salmon, Dolly Varden and coastal cutthroat trout use this creek.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding in the amount of $600,000 will allow for the last culvert impeding fish passage to be replaced with a timber bridge. This completes the effort to reconnect the Mountain View and Flats Creek drainages to provide unimpeded access to six miles of rearing habitat for juvenile coho salmon—a very significant amount of habitat in an area of Alaska with tight topography and generally shorter river systems. It also fixes the traffic safety issue which came along with a narrow road with no guard rails, unstable banks, and a failing embankment.

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