Habitat Restoration Kayaking Expeditions
Nellie Juan-College Fjord Wilderness Study Area
From May 31 to June 9, eight students from Whittier, Anchorage, Valdez, Taitlek, and Chenega Bay surveyed seven campsites in the Nellie Juan-College Fjord Wilderness Study Area. The inventories included updating GPS coordinates, dismantling fire-rings, and taking photo points of durable campsites for user areas in Culross Passage. These photos will aid Chugach National Forest rangers in identifying the measure of campsite impact in user areas. In addition to campsite surveys, students removed marine debris and user abandoned trash at sites in Culross Passage and Foul Bay. Marine debris included garbage such as plastic bottles, soda cans, and cargo nets. User trash included a number of unsightly fire pits, which the crew broke apart and returned to a more natural state.
Harriman Fjord, Prince William Sound
The second kayaking expedition of 2013 (June 14-23) focused on removing invasive species and trash removal at user sites in Harriman Fjord, Prince William Sound. Kayak rangers, Barbara and Garrison, of the Chugach Forest Service met with the nine students at Hobo Bay to brief them on projects in the PWS. The students cleaned up glass, nails, and other metal objects at abandoned cabin sites near Hobo Bay and Serpentine Cove. They also removed invasive species around user areas from Oystercatcher beach and Viewpoint beach.
Blackstone and Pigot Bay
The third kayaking expedition of 2013 (July 10-19) focused on removing invasive species in Pigot Bay. On this expedition, Forest Service ecologist, Pete Johnson, lead the crew in eradicating invasive Icelandic Poppies along the spawning channel. The crew spent three days pulling 3-4 acres of infested stream banks and successfully pulled 99% of the non-native plants. Pete Johnson explained that they, “successfully eliminated the immediate threat of a spread of Icelandic poppy so the area could be downgraded to a monitoring area.” Additional service projects included naturalizing campsites in Blackstone Bay, taking repeat photos in select locations to database climate change and forest succession, and the improvement of a muddy picnic site in Squirrel Cove.
Marine Stewardship Expedition
This boat-based expedition on the research vessel Babkin brought eight middle school students from Chenega Bay, Cordova, Valdez, and the Anchorage area to PWS to monitor oil spill recovery efforts and remove marine debris from area beaches. Participants created multimedia projects such as videos, marine debris art, and poetry to share their lessons learned. Now in its fourth successful year, two new partners joined the crew: the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies and the Gulf of Alaska Keepers. Funding from this program comes from EVOS (through the Gulf of Alaska Keepers), PWSRCAC, Chugach National Forest, and REI.
Thanks to the Chugach School District, Babkin Charters, Prince William Sound RCAC, Gulf of Alaska Keepers, REI, Alaska Pacific University, Copper River Watershed Project, Center for Alaska Coastal Studies, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustees Council, Alaska Teen Media Institute, and the Anchorage School District for making these expeditions possible!