Eklutna River Restoration Project Update

Eklutna River Restoration

Many salmon anglers in Alaska are familiar with the popular Eklutna Tailrace Fishery, but few are as keenly aware of the struggling salmon runs happening on the nearby river, the original destination of the water flowing through the tailrace.

The Eklutna River, a historic salmon stream in southcentral Alaska, once boasted runs of all five species of Pacific salmon, nourishing the nearby Native Village.  For nearly a century, migration of salmon has been blocked by hydroelectric dams and impacted by water diversions. This river’s salmon runs have been greatly diminished and now is the time to bring the salmon back.

The effort to revive the Eklutna River and return salmon is currently underway.  In 2018 an abandoned hydroelectric dam that blocked salmon migration for nearly 100 years was successfully removed, an important initial first step in restoration and investment in the river’s health. 

At present, a second dam at the outflow of the lake diverts all of the water in the lake to fuel the Eklutna Hydropower Project and provide drinking water for Anchorage. Zero water is released to support wild salmon in the river.

A healthy, fully functioning & productive river is possible. It’s up to Alaskans to create it by being engaged in the process that is currently underway to mitigate, or make up for, the Eklutna Hydropower Project’s impact to fish and wildlife.

Join Eric Booton, Eklutna Project Manager for Trout Unlimited Alaska, for an overview of the history of the river and the opportunity to rebuild the historic wild salmon runs.  Eric also covers exciting 2020 highlights and shares what anglers can expect for regarding restoration of the river in 2021. 

You can learn more at our website, watch the new film Return to Us, and pledge your support for returning water, and salmon, to the river.

If you have questions or are in search of more information, feel free to contact Eric at ebooton@tu.org.

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