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Thread: Restoring salmon passage on Ship Creek

  1. #1

    Default Restoring salmon passage on Ship Creek

    The Anchorage Waterways Council has been working for several years to remove the dams on Ship Creek and restore natural fish passage. If you have an interest in our progress on this (and/or other programs the AWC is working on, including creek water quality monitoring), please join us at our Annual Meeting Thursday, Feb. 8. It will be at the Kincaid Chalet from 6-9 p.m. with the main program (on Ship Creek) beginning at 7:30.

    Mayor Begich will also give a talk on the city's interest in economic development in the Ship Creek area.

    Please check out our website for more information or email or call me (or post your questions here).

    Nick Bronson
    AWC Monitoring Program Director
    272-7335 ext. 2
    "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

  2. #2


    It's great what u guys are doing and nice website. I'm sure people have mentioned this, but I'll just throw it out there just in case. Removing a dam if not done right can have a negative effect on a river and especially its anadromous fish.

    Sportsman have lobbied in Michigan to have unused and broken dams removed for years and people are finally listening and the state is finally removing a number of them. However, it took major screw ups for them to learn how to do it right.

    The area upstream of the dam has to be cleared up and removed of debris for the unplugging to not have a disastrous effect on the river. This was not done on two rivers in Michigan and the result was the filling of wholes, covering of gravel, and the stream mouth being shallowed. The result on the Dowagiac River has been much less kings annd some reduction of steelhead which are naturally producing from stray plants. The salmon are reluctant to pass the large shallow sandbar flat that was created by the release of the sediment. Also, all of the junk/pollution that gathered behind it that was released did not help...probably a lot of bad stuff behind that dam im Anchorage, I would assume, based on the way u described how the river has been treated.

  3. #3
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Eagle River/ Juneau


    Look at the salmon runs and trout fishery at ship creek now. Now imagine if those runs were allowed to have their historic 30 or so river miles of spawning a rearing habitat. Now imagine what those runs will look like in the future. Its my understanding that very few salmon actually spawn in ship creek so the risk of sediment and such is basically nill compared to the benifits of getting those useless dams out.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Sterling, AK

    Thumbs up Hope its nothin, but...

    The Anchorage Waterways Council should be applauded for their efforts to restore the Anchorage Bowl creeks. Ship creek is a great example of how to demonstrate that Alaskans can take all the lessons from Europe and America and ignore them.

    DAM IT, Put a hatchery in place of wild stocks, introduce non-endemic genetic strains of fish in the hatchery and get the equivalent of mad cow disease to show up in your fish - check out this un-reported press release from ADFG on whirling disease

  5. #5

    Default dam removal

    chinookhead: "Removing a dam if not done right can have a negative effect on a river and especially its anadromous fish."

    Certainly. We have contracted with Inter-Fluve, Inc., which has 24 years experience in river and wetland restoration projects, and received many awards and national recognition for their work.

    Lorax: Scary article! Let's hope the problem is as minimal as ADFG found and that it is contained.
    "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

  6. #6

    Default Comparing dams

    I believe removing this dam is a huge step forward in the progress of this fishery. I don't think you can compare dam removal on a great lakes river to a river that is influenced by the second largest tides in the world however.

    I would love to see this fishery get opened up so actual salmon fishing can take place throughout the lower creek, from the Glenn hwy downstream.

    As to the salmon actually spawning in the creek. I often fish in the trout only section between Reeve Rd and the dam with my fly rod, and have witnessed hundreds of actual spawning kings and silvers in the holes between Reeves and the dam. I cannot speak as to the success rates of these spawners but can say that they have dug redds and are dropping eggs in there. Also, I have seen hundreds of Kings above the hatchery along the stretch on Elmendorf next to the golf course, attempting to spawn.

    Regardless, I am totally behind the removal of this dam. The pros far outway the cons in this instance. Thanks for the post nickster!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006


    Removing the lower dam concerns me. Many things will change. Right now, they use that dam to manage the fishery. It remains open until they get the fish they need for the hatchery, then they shut it to allow anglers a chance at the remaining fish. What happens if we remove it? Unneeded hatchery kings & silvers will squirt right on upstream. Will they successfully spawn up there. Not from what I've heard. These fish won't be available to the anglers. So what then? Do they open the rest of the stream up to salmon fishing? Problems there too with access - the railroad, elmendorf and the businesses that will be affected will have to weigh in on that, and the banks would take heavy pressure if they had the same traffic that is received from the lower dam down.

    Also, the dam currently protects the stream above it from the tidal influence. Remove it, and the stream above will certainly change it's character.

    I've also heard that removal of the other dams is opposed by the military due to serious pollution problems.

    Anyway, just thought I'd post my 2 on this. I'd certainly like to know how this will affect the current salmon fisheries at Ship, and what will be done to keep these fisheries productive and available to the average fisherman.


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