Working to build a network of community-based efforts achieving informed management of the resources in Southeast Alaska
We inspire Southeast Alaskans and support community organizations working towards the wise management of our watersheds.
We envision a unified Southeast Alaskan voice that promotes the long-term sustainability of our rural communities and wise management of the region’s watersheds. We seek a balance of human and wildlife use within the watersheds in order to benefit our communities, our natural resources-based economies and our quality of life.
Shoreline clean-up in Yakutat
Goals & Objectives:
Building a Regional Voice
1. Increase conversation and media coverage throughout the region about issues impacting our watersheds.
2. Increase awareness of public officials.
3. Increase citizen awareness by promoting public education of watershed issues
Share Knowledge and Experiences
1. There is an increase in community organizations and Southeast Alaskans that are using the network in order to share experiences and knowledge.
2. There is an increase in community interest and participation in enhancing an/or developing programs and initiatives that promote, protect and restore Southeast Alaska watersheds.
Enhance the capacity of Community-Based Watershed Councils and Groups by leveraging economies of scale
GOAL: SAWC will work to increase member’s access to funding, staff resources and equipment.
1. We are securing new sources of funding for the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition that bolster the efforts of member councils and groups.
2. Watershed councils and groups are utilizing trainings and workshops to enhance staff proficiencies and strengthen the impact and affects of projects implemented within their communities.
3. Work with Public Officials and State and Federal Agencies to enhance funding opportunities and the allocation of resources to community-based watershed management efforts.
The members and partners of SAWC work together to enhance their awareness and abilities to protect, restore and promote the environmental integrity of Southeast Alaska’s Watersheds in their communities. The Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition is a motivated and capable collaboration dedicated to supporting these community efforts.
In 2009, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) partnered with SAWC on a 2 year capacity building grant. The workshops, one-on-one coaching, trainings and grant funds will allow SAWC to work towards and realize our strategic goals, strategies and activities over the next few years. Thank you NFF!
Jessica Kayser, Director
Melany Zimmerman, GIS Technician
Angie Eldred, Communications Coordinator
In order to stay true to our core principles of building a voice for communities we believe this coalition has to be steered by regional leaders and community professional working to protect, promote and restore our region watersheds. And, of course have super human powers in order to bridge differences, work with diverse partners, and look good doing it…
Executive Director of the Taiya Inlet Watershed Council
A.J. grew up in Seattle, WA and travelled for several years before moving to Skagway, AK in 2008. In Skagway, A.J. has worked as a trail guide, and assistant harbormaster, which allowed her to gain valuable knowledge of the air and build relationships with local fishermen. Prior to taking a paid position with TIWC in November 2010, A.J. served on the Board of Directors. A.J. received a B.A. in English and Comparative History of Ideas and has a background in teaching and outreach. A.J. moved in to the position of Executive Director in March 2011.
Executive Director of the Takshanuk Watershed Council
Brad received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Portland in 1994 and Ph. D. in Environmental Science and Resources from Portland State University in 2005. As a research biologist who spent twelve years working in the highly impacted Columbia River Basin Brad relishes the idea of working to preserve and restore the relatively pristine Chilkat, Chilkoot, and Ferebee rivers. Brad is the Executive Director of the Takshanuk Watershed Council in Haines, Alaska.
Planner and Biologist for City and Borough of Yakutat, Coornates the Yakutat Salmon Board
Bill Lucey holds a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont. He began his career working as a natural resource instructor for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department in 1987 and went on to work in salmon research and habitat restoration. Upon graduating he worked as a fisheries extensionist with the Peace Corps in Guatemala. Bill reached Alaska in 1995, working as a federal fish and wildlife biologist, banding birds, tagging salmon, collaring moose and surveying everything form mountain goats to sea lions. He is now working with the local community on a wide variety of sustainable resource issues from commercial fishing to cleaning up marine debris. Bill has been researching the Yakutat beluga whales since 2000 and is now working with acoustic recordings of beluga chirps, whistles and echolocation.
Executive Director of the Juneau Watershed Partnership
Beverly is originally from Portland, Oregon where she grew up playing and fishing on the streams and rivers in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Beverly received a B.S. in Community Development from Portland State University and M.S. in Humanitarian and Development Practice from Brookes University in Oxford, England. Beverly has been with the Partnership since 2007.
The challenges and opportunities that present themselves when it comes to supporting a local voice for community health and sustainable watersheds are infinite. In order to better serve the region and ensure we are: making the best choices possible, implementing the most appropriate and necessary programs and services and engaging the most pressing issues facing our region we count on our Advisory Council. This group provides us with guidance, critical feedback, and advice based on years of expertise and experience working in Southeast Alaska. These individuals are dedicated to supporting the capacity of communities to wisely manage their watersheds.
Brock Tabor, Environmental Program Specialist, Alaska Department of Environmental Quality
Cathly Needham, Kai Environmental, Environmental Scientist
Cathy is the owner of Kai Environmental Consulting Services. She was born and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska and attended school in Oregon and Wisconsin before returning to Alaska in 1999. Cathy is part Tsimshian and descendant of Haida and has previously worked for the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida and the Organized Village of Kasaan in Environmental and Natural Resource fields. In addition to operating the business administration side of Kai Environmental, Cathy enjoys working hands-on in rural Alaskan communities and helping to build capacity in Tribal programs. She is well versed in wetland delineations, water quality monitoring programs, fisheries management projects and NEPA actions. Her formal education includes a B.S and an M.S. in Zoology, with specializations in intertidal marine ecology. In her spare time, Cathy enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, reading and cooking.
United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation
Samia worked in Anchorage over 11 years ago after completing an M.S. degree in Watershed Management at University of Wyoming. After working as a consultant on cleanup and monitoring of contaminated sites in southcentral and western Alaska, she moved to Juneau in 2002 to work as a Watershed Coordinator for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, where she assisted communities throughout southeast Alaska with watershed council development, watershed assessments and plans, and habitat rehabilitation projects. She is currently the NRCS District Conservationist for southeast Alaska, working directly with private landowners to conserve, protect, and maintain natural resources. Outside of work, she loves being with her two daughters, volunteers as a board member for a local child care nonprofit, and makes time to hike, fish, ski, boat, and play in beautiful southeast Alaska.
Retired Fish Habitat Biologist, Takshanuk Watershed Council Board Member
Ben moved to southeast Alaska in 1981 for the amazing skiing and paddling opportunities. He started working for Alaska Department of Fish & Game in 1984 and spent over 10 years as the Habitat Biologist for northern southeast Alaska, including Haines, before retiring in 2008. One of his last and favorite projects was helping to found watershed councils throughout southeast Alaska including TWC. This work reinforced his understanding about the connection between a healthy community and a healthy watershed. He believes community involvement and participation is critical to meeting these goals. Ben is also on the Steering Committee of Rivers Without Borders, a transboundary conservation organization, and a member of the Governor-appointed Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council.
Kathleen Dowd-Gailey, National Forest Foundation, Regional Director, Pacific Northwest
Kathleen Dowd-Gailey joined the NFF in June 2009 as the Northwest Regional Director. Kathleen has nearly 15 years experience working domestically and internationally with conservation-focused non-profit organizations. She spent two years in Bolivia as a Peace Corps volunteer working with rural communities as a soil conservation and environmental education specialist. She later served as a Conservation Planner for The Nature Conservancy in Indiana where she shaped on-the-ground conservation action plans for priority sites throughout the state. During her graduate studies Kathleen worked with a field research team in Guatemala as part of the International Forestry Resources and Institutions program at Indiana University. This research evaluated de facto and de jure forest uses in local communities throughout southeastern Guatemala and provided enhanced understanding of ecological and social factors affecting forest health in the region. Kathleen also worked in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula with a national Mexican non-profit organization developing conservation programs in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. Prior to joining NFF she was with Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) helping to build their corporate giving program, which provided grants throughout the country to organizations working on conservation and restoration projects. Kathleen earned a Masters of Public Affairs and a Masters of Environmental Science, both from the University of Indiana’s School for Public and Environmental Affairs. She is active in the community wherever she lives and has served on the board of a local land trust in Indiana as their Stewardship Chair, as well as on the board of a watershed organization in Seattle where she was the Board President for three years.
What is Community-Based Watershed Management and why is it important in rural communities throughout Alaska
Throughout the United States and world wide it is common knowledge that sustainable rural development is dependent upon how the natural or watershed resources within a region are developed, conserved, and/or restored in and around the rural communities by both the local people and outside stakeholders. It has been found that traditional resource management frameworks are not always effective at ensuring sustainable communities in rural areas.
Community-Based Watershed Management:
Is a creative innovative approach to resource management and rural development that enables individuals, groups, and institutions with a stake in management outcomes (often called stakeholders) to participate in identifying and addressing local issues.
Proponents of community-based watershed management maintain that involving local stakeholders results in more locally relevant solutions that take into account each community’s unique social, economic, and environmental conditions and values. Stakeholder participation is also thought to create a sense of local ownership of identified problems and solutions, thus ensuring long-term support for resulting management plans
Throughout Southeast Alaska and the state multiple communities are organizing themselves either through their Tribe, municipality, or local group to carryout community-based watershed management projects and programs. The intention of this SAWC and this website is to:
- Connect you with resources, tools, people and organizations who support community-based watershed management projects and programs
- Inform you of these efforts, and
- Inspire you to participate and take strategic action that supports sustainable rural development and informed resources management in Southeast Alaska
What is a Watershed?
The definition of a watershed is the area of land that drains to a common water body, such as a river, lake, or ocean. Watersheds include not only waterways, but also the land, such that the boundary of a watershed follows the topography of the land through which the water drains. A watershed can be defined on many scales. In Alaska this can range from the 330,000 square mile Yukon River Drainage to a small creek in your backyard. Because water moves downstream, any activity that affects the water quality, quanity, or rate of movement at one location can affect locations downstream. For this reason, everyone living or working within a watershed needs to cooperate to ensure good watershed conditions. We all live in a watershed- our actions impact the watershed in which we live – and we are all collectively responsible for its care.
Southeast Alaska encompasses over 50,000 square miles. The region is more than 500 miles long, stretching from the Bering Glacier in the north to Prince of Wales Island in the south. The Southeast Alaska region has many intact functioning watersheds that provide the ecosystem services and natural resources upon which local communities rely.
Southeast, though only making up a small part of the state of Alaska is larger than the state of Maine. The region stands out for its vast wild spaces and landscapes that reside within the boundaries of the Tongass National Forest, Glacier Bay National Park, Admiralty Island National Monument, and Misty Fjords National Monument. Alaska’s Inside Passage connects Southeast Alaska’s 33 communities, 1,000 islands and 15,000 miles of shoreline.
This region presents diverse challenges and endless opportunities for Southeast Alaskans who are working for the sustainable use and preservation of these waters and lands. Although each community has its own unique identity, Southeast Alaska’s residents and visitors share a common dependence on natural resources and ecosystem services for our cultural vitality and economic livelihood.
What is a community-based watershed effort:
Community-based watershed efforts are citizen-lead, locally organized groups established to improve and maintain the conditions of the resources in their local area. These groups work to represent the diverse interests in their watershed and strive to be balanced in their makeup.
Community-based watershed efforts provide reliable data and information on the important ecosystem services and natural resources within their watersheds to citizens and decision makers who work for the wise management of these waters and lands. They offer education programs that enhance the ecological literacy of the community, as well as actions that steward these ecosystems. These groups develop and implement innovative projects, which emphasizes the potential for sustainable development projects and landscape-scale planning.
Community-based watershed efforts work to engage; landowners, conservation groups, industry, tribes and government to work together to understand their watersheds. They coordinate the sharing of knowledge, experiences and skills and engage in meaningful dialog. These collaborative efforts -that these groups strive to facilitate -provide the opportunity for diverse stakeholders to discuss alternatives and possible solutions to resource issues.
These community organizations provide services that foster their communities way of life, bolster their local economies, and promote the environmental integrity of the watersheds that they depend upon.
The individual councils that make up SAWC work across jurisdictions and boundaries, with diverse groups, agencies and associations in order to develop and implement their projects. Below is a list of Local, Tribe, Federal and State agencies, non-profits, academic institutions and businesses we have in the past and continue to partner with.
We are always looking to strengthen our collaborative efforts. If you are interested in becoming a coalition member council/group or partnering with SAWC please contact us!!!
Yakutat Tlingit Tribe
Skagway Traditional Council
State of Alaska
- Yakutat District, Juneau Ranger District
USGS, Juneau Water Resources Division
Alaska Seiner’s Association
Alaska Troller’s Association
Alaska Gillnetters Association
Chambers of Commerce
The Nature Conservancy
Fish America Foundation
KHNS Community Radio
Juneau Youth for Environmental Action
ESRI Conservation Program
Society for Conservation GIS
Alaska Conservation Foundation
KTOO- Juneau Public Radio
Local Business Partners
Alaska Power & Telephone
Alaska Power & Telephone
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad
Duck Creek Market
*Disclaimer- we work hard and long hours- like many of you dedicated to mission driven work, we rely heavily and completely on playing hard and laughing a lot.