The following is courtesy of Trout Unlimited Alaska:
It is with great excitement that we share the short film, “Return to Us: Restoring Alaska’s Eklutna River,” with you. As of 2 p.m. AKST today, it is available free of charge online for all to enjoy!
Return to Us chronicles the historic effort spearheaded by Eklutna, Inc. and The Conservation Fund to remove the abandoned Lower Eklutna Dam and kickstart the return of diminished salmon runs to the river.
A before and after view of the Eklutna River dam removal. (TROUT UNLIMITED)
As chronicled in the film, the abandoned lower dam that blocked salmon migration for nearly a century has been successfully removed. However, an upper diversion dam associated with the Eklutna Hydropower Project remains. This upper dam diverts all downstream flow, blocks fish migration and hinders use of the recently reconnected habitat. Right now, the legally required-mitigation process that will help make up for project’s impact to fish & wildlife is underway. Currently, the owners of the Eklutna Hydropower Project are finalizing their year 1 study plans, which will require approval by the Governor. The findings of this study will help shape and inform the outcome of the mitigation process.
Since the removal of the dam, Southcentral Alaskans have demonstrated sweeping support for returning appropriate flows to the river for fish and allowing fish passage around the upper dam so that salmon can make a full recovery. This will benefit of the Native Village of Eklutna, and all Alaskans.
A healthy, fully functioning future is possible for the Eklutna River, and it’s up to us to help make it happen!
After watching the film, we encourage everyone to pledge their support for restoration of the Eklutna River here. Pledge signers will be shared with the Utility boards, the governor, and other decision makers who can help make this vision a reality.