Alaska’s five active Fish Habitat Partnerships (FHP) are part of a national network of voluntary, place-based collaboratives working to conserve the land and water resources. Where there’s partners, there’s get-togethers and the Matanuska-Susitna FHP Science and Conservation Symposium Nov. 8-9 drew researchers, managers, policy-makers and others together to share knowledge of a very cherished resource: local native fish.
Nautilus’ partnership-based project Alaska Salmon and People (SASAP) made its Mat-Su debut at the meeting, introduced by two of its lead researchers in a talk that highlighted the duality of SASAP’s work to collect, synthesize, and archive salmon data: Towards More Integrated Salmon Knowledge Systems.
Dr. Dan Rinella, USFWS and co-lead for the Biophysical Working Group, spoke on the genesis of the SASAP project, highlighting some of the threats to salmon populations including climate change and ocean acidification, an increasing global fish demand and significant cutbacks in research and management funding.
Dr. Rachel Donkersloot of Alaska Marine Conservation Council and co-lead for SASAP’s Wellbeing and Salmon Systems Workgroup followed Dan’s introduction with a discussion on her team’s work to identify and synthesize knowledge about sociocultural aspects of salmon systems. The team is identifying trends in human use of salmon and key threats to salmon-dependent communities, and developing an updated definition of what constitutes wellbeing in a salmon community.
Fish Habitat Partnerships were inspired by the success of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan in advocating for key bird habitats. Locally and nationally, all FHPs share the same goals:
1. Protect and maintain intact and healthy aquatic system
2. Prevent further degradation of fish habitat
3. Reverse declines in the quality and quantity of aquatic habitat
4. Increase the quality and quantity of fish habitat
Alaska’s Fish Habitat Partnerships have put together an interactive StoryMap of the history of the state’s FHPs – check it out here: For the Fish