Fish are an integral part of our landscape and its people – on and off shore. In the Alaskan landscape, salmon are everywhere; Their habitat reaches deep into our forests and meadows, and out to sea. This spring we have partnered with our local Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, whose conservation work focuses on healthy habitat for salmon, wildlife corridors, and recreational lands.
Along with a group of local fishermen from the Young Fishermen's Network, we participated in the Land Trust's Fish Need Land Too outreach initiative, which took us upstream the icy Anchor River with staff and scientists from the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve and Cook Inlet Keeper to one of the Land Trust's conservation properties. We learned how this land feeds fish, and how important habitat conservation support is to ensuring that fish will remain in our rivers, and in turn our oceans, for generations to come. As commercial fishermen, we know how important it is to be spokespersons for the resource we depend on for our livelihoods, and were thankful for the opportunity to learn more about how our behavior on land can affect salmon too.
We made an illustrated infographic with some of the knowledge we took away from our trip upriver with the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust. We wanted to show our community how easy it is for all of us to act as salmon stewards and hope that you will help spread the word about how to keep salmon habitats thriving in your area. These informative posters or cards can be hung in your home as a reminder of how our lives are intertwined with wild salmon. They also make great gifts for friends and family and help them understand how they can be salmon stewards too.
We also designed a hoodie for our spring collection inspired by the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust's conservation work. Salmon are amazing, resilient fish – worth protecting not only because of the food and jobs they provide, but because they are just the most incredible creatures. Born in mountain streams, they begin their life in fresh water, swimming from land to the sea, where they spend their young adult life before returning to the rivers to spawn and create new life. Our River to Sea Pullover Hoodie allows you to be as adaptable and determined as a salmon, no matter what odds life throws at you.
Get Involved in your Local Watershed
We hope that you will reach out to your local land trust, get involved in their programming, and ask what you can do to help keep the salmon habitat in your area healthy and thriving.
- If you're in the Homer area, the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust is teaming up with the Kenai River Brewing Co. this spring to brew a beer with a portion of sales going back to KHLT's land conservation for salmon, wildlife, our beautiful landscape, and for our unique Alaskan way of life. There is an art contest for the label that will be used on the Kenai River Brewing Co's Spruce Tip Double IPA beer label. Contest info and guidelines can be viewed here.
- Learn how you can volunteer for the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, and get involved with your local community's watershed here.
- Take an informative van tour of a variety of lands being protected by KHLT, including Calvin & Coyle Nature Trail, Gene and Mim Effler Trail, and the treasured landscapes in the Diamond Creek watershed on May 11, 11-1PM. Free, but please register here.
- Read up on watershed ecology and current watershed projects through the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve.
- Read 9 inspiring stories of Alaskans protecting salmon habitat.
A long time ago…..in PWS (Prince William Sound) there was a Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
There was also woman, she had an idea to bring our habitat to the fore front, we became “The Sisters of the Sound” a group of Cordova women who marched with mops and sang out to the crowds “clean up your act Exxon”!
Fast forward to our next morph…..changing our name (Everyoone was in those days:-) to The Copper River Queens, PWS being to broad an area, and most of us were either fishing the Copper River flats or our partners were.
We carried on for years called ourselves; a precision marching and singing group. We would do parades in state and out, making appearances upon demand for events and pretty much wearing our turquoise 5’ fish costumes out…..
Present day….our costumes lay in wetlock boxes in the basement of the Cordova District Fishermen United’s Main Street Cordova office. Oh, the costumes are occasionally still used, i.e. I’m the middle of May, the spectical of 400+ jet and prop bow pickers returning safely from the first opener is a welcome site to see and most of Cordovans come to the ocean side to watch.
We have requests to loan the costumes out and never refuse as to a Copper River Queen it’s an honor to be asked.
The future….we tried to get our kids to take over the costumes, to put them on proudly with matching turquois tops, black leggings and gloves, Extra Tuffs, and of course crowns, sunglasses and red, red lipstick ……..but as of today that hasn’t happened, perhaps our grandchildren……
We are blessed to be living in Alaska, where the fishers, board of fish and the ADF&G mostly work together to continue to have sustainable fisheries.
Where non profits like the Copper River Watershed and all the others stewards of conservation and reclamation work together with volunteers for future generations who just might someday go into that basement and have a hell of a good time dancing and singing the praises of our bounty…..in a 5’ turquoise fish costume. Thank you T. Bocci