Hydaburg Leader Honored for Salmon Conservation
July 05, 2015
Anthony Christianson leads the natural resources program at the Hydaburg Cooperative Association, a federally recognized tribe on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. Under his leadership, the tribe has led numerous science projects to ensure the long-term health of the local tradition of collecting and harvesting wild foods.
The Nature Conservancy honored Anthony Christianson with an award for his forward-thinking contributions to salmon conservation in Southeast Alaska.
In 2001, Christianson developed the Hetta Lake Sockeye Salmon Stock Assessment Study. In this unique project, tribal members are working as hands-on managers of the fishery and operating a remote field station, which allows them to closely monitor fish populations. This study has been the driving force behind the rebuilding of the Hetta sockeye salmon run – the most important subsistence resource for Hydaburg residents. Now fifteen years later, this remains a scientifically rigorous program that guides the tribe’s management of subsistence salmon harvest today.
Christianson also led the Hydaburg traditional ecological knowledge project, which systematically collected information from tribal members in a series of interviews about the places most important for local subsistence harvests. Christianson then used this information to guide the tribe’s efforts in assessing how and when salmon use local streams – an important step in safeguarding the tribe’s salmon tradition.
“They give themselves to us, and we have a lot of stories about how we have to respect the salmon as an animal,” Christianson says. “We have to make sure that their home is intact, and that’s part of why we are engaging in the assessment work.”
The Nature Conservancy said they are a proud partner in this effort, which assists the tribe in collecting the scientific data necessary for protecting salmon streams.
“We’re pleased to honor Anthony’s contributions to his community. Under his leadership, the science-based projects of the Hydaburg Cooperative Association have become a model for tribes across Alaska,” says Rand Hagenstein, Alaska state director of The Nature Conservancy.
The Susan Ruddy Community-Based Conservation Award is dedicated annually to an individual who has worked to promote conservation in Alaska through forging successful partnerships and building consensus in local communities. The award honors the remarkable contributions of Susan Ruddy, the founding Alaska state director of The Nature Conservancy in Alaska and current president of the Alaska chapter’s Board of Trustees. As an award recipient, Christianson will serve a one-year term as an honorary trustee for The Nature Conservancy.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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