Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Salmon partnership earns national recognition

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Thursday, October 25, 2007

Patty Sullivan

Oct. 24, 2007Public Affairs Director

MAT-SU Salmon partnership earns national recognition

Oct. 30 meeting to unveil plan

PALMER The National Fish Habitat Board in Washington, D.C., recognized the Matanuska-Susitna Basin Salmon Conservation Partnership as an official Fish Habitat Partnership under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. The MAT-SU Salmon Conservation Partnership is one of four regional partnerships that were recognized in the United States.

The MAT-SU Partnership was formed in 2005 to ensure thriving fish, healthy habitats and vital communities in the MAT-SU Basin. The MAT-SU Borough is a member, so are ConocoPhillips Alaska, The Nature Conservancy, the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Chickaloon Village Traditional council, among others. The Group is made up of more than 30 members including local communities, landowners, agencies, businesses, and non-profits.

What this means for the MAT-SU is that we will be eligible for federal funds through the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, said Frankie Barker, environmental planner with the MAT-SU Borough. Last year, we had $220,000 for MAT-SU projects and we expect a similar amount to be available in 2008.

The Partnership will unveil their Strategic Action Plan, Conserving Salmon in the MAT-SU Basin, on Tues., Oct. 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Wasilla Sports Complex at 1001 South Mack Drive. Partnership members and the general public are invited to attend.

The Strategic Action Plan was created through a combined effort of three committees including a Science Working Group, an Implementation Working Group and the Partnership Steering Committee. The plan focuses on human activities that are currently major sources of stress to salmon and their habitat or are likely to be potential threats in the next 10 years.

Some of the primary threats to MAT-SU salmon identified in the plan are alteration of riparian areas due to development, filling of wetlands, impervious surfaces and culverts that block fish passage.

The history of salmon in other parts of the world indicates that wild salmon cannot persist in their full abundance unless stakeholders work together to protect their habitat, the Plan states. Only in working together, can all the key components for salmon habitat be protected to ensure healthy, abundant salmon runs in the MAT-SU Basin in the future.

For more information on the MAT-SU Salmon Basin Conservation Partnership, look on the Web at or call Corinne Smith with The Nature Conservancy at (907) 276-3113, ext 121.