NFF works across the country, restoring rivers and watersheds to improve fish and wildlife habitats. We are thrilled to have recently received a $3.8 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Transformational Habitat Restoration and Coastal Resilience Grant to restore salmon habitat on Resurrection Creek, an important river on the Chugach National Forest in Alaska.
Resurrection Creek is located just outside of the community of Hope in Southcentral, Alaska. With a population of about 100 people today, Hope established itself during the gold-mining boom in Southcentral Alaska in the early 1900s and, at its peak, was home to over 3,000 people.
During the gold-mining boom, Resurrection Creek was heavily mined using hydraulic and heavy equipment placer mining for over 40 years. This led to soil and riverbank degradation and significantly altered stream channels and ecology. Once home to thriving salmon runs, the lower six miles of Resurrection Creek no longer has the wetland and stream channel habitat to support spawning salmon. Related, the surrounding wetland and forests also provided critical habitat for bears, moose, bald eagles, harlequin ducks, and other wildlife.
To address the ecological degradation due to mining, the Resurrection Creek Project was first taken on in 2006 by the U.S. Forest Service to restore a 1.5-mile section of the creek. Their efforts reconnected the historic floodplain and created steam channels, pools, and riffles. In the years after the restoration efforts, Resurrection Creek’s salmon runs increased six-fold and have continued to make a comeback. Unfortunately, due to a lack of funding, the Resurrection Creek restoration project was put on hold for over a decade.
In early 2021, Phase II of the Resurrection Creek restoration project made headway due to a unique partnership between the National Forest Foundation, Trout Unlimited, Hope Mining Company and the Forest Service. Now the NFF is taking the lead on this $7 million project to restore 2.2 miles of Resurrection Creek and improve 74 acres of riparian habitat between 2023-2025, using the same tactics employed by the first iteration of the project in 2006.
The restored Resurrection Creek stream channels are expected to support a more robust ecosystem and continue to nurture the return of salmon runs and wildlife. Phase II of the Resurrection Creek project will restore the creek to its historic steam channels, creating opportunities for a robust salmon run return for Alaska’s communities to value and enjoy for generations to come.