It is amazing to think that this it the 5th field season of the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership. We’ve learned so much about collaboration and this model of community-forestry. Each year we’ve sought to summarize the work completed and learn from what we’ve done for the next year. I think we’ve done a good job of incorporating what we’ve learned from 2016, 2017, and 2018 and it’s amazing to look at how much we’ve accomplished when you write it all down!
We are proud of the HNFP Crew. Phillip Sharclane, Ricky Contreras, Derek Barton, and Jeremy Johnson put in 6 months of work to improve the wildlife habitat and streams in Spasski Valley. Here’s a summary of the work. Further detail of each work type and goal is in the sections below.
- 116 forest “gaps” installed in over 200 acres of young growth. These wildlife gaps are designed to increase wildlife habitat in the forest stand.
- Completed hand tool restorations on 0.5 miles of stream. https://www.hia-env.org/2019/07/19/2019-stream-restoration-improves-seeks-to-improve-fish-habitat/
- Collected data to complete planning and design of a large-scale stream restoration project.
- Completed riparian thinning to increase wildlife habitat along the restoration site. We completed 2.5 areas of thinning.
- A contractor is thinning 535 acres of young growth in Spasski Valley including installing forest gaps
Carbon Market Surveys
In May and June our local crews worked with Terra Verde Consulting Foresters and Biologist to complete survey work needed to complete Huna Totem’s Carbon Project. The work paired up our crew with professional timber cruisers and gave them knew knowledge on how to precisely survey forests. Crew member Phillip Sharclane had this to say about the work:
I enjoyed getting into the higher elevations and zeroing in on GPS points, and the accuracy of measurements. I would like to take this into the future – I learned that a lot of those guys started as thinners.Phillip Sharclane, 5th year HNFP crew member
GAP Installation for Deer Habitat
Over the course of the summer the HNFP crew installed 116 forest gaps in young growth stands in Spasski and on Gobbler’s Knob. The goal of these gaps are to get sunlight to the floor in areas were the canopy is too tick to let it come through. Each of the gaps has a dominant ‘leave tree’ in the center. The sunlight and reduced competition will help boost the growth of that tree. Hopefully that larger tree will also catch more snow making food more available to deer in the winter.
Exclosure Fencing for Monitoring
The crew installed 5 exclosure fences in Spasski this year. The goal of these fences are to keep deer out so we can measure how much food is being created by the extra sunlight to the forest floor. If the fence wasn’t there we’d have to guess how much is being eaten by deer – and that’s impossible to guess!
The 2019 Stream Restoration was a crown jewel of our field season. We partnered with Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and used local youth from the TRAYLS program to complete stream restoration on over 0.5 miles of stream. You can watch the video below or read this article to learn about the full impact and importance of this work.
We enjoyed the process of the stream restoration. It was fun to engineer how to get each of the logs into the stream and the work was a good change from running the saw. We enjoyed getting the “mother of all root wads” drug into the stream.Derek Barton, Jeremy Johnson, Paraphrase of their thoughts on the stream restoration
The Crew finished some needed road surveys in Spasski Valley. This information will help Huna Totem understand the cost of maintaining the roads in the upper extent of Spasski Valley. We used the Avenza online app to complete the surveys.
In order to accomplish the goals of the Tribal Wildlife Grant, we improved the forest stand along the stream restoration. Improving the stand will produce food for deer and bear and also help get sunlight into the river which will help young fish. The stand is 5 acres and by the end of the season we completed half of the work. The last 2.5 acres will be completed in the beginning of 2020.
The Steering Committee set aside funding to promote workforce development. Spruce Root helped us with the first training in late October. We focused on resume building, financial budgeting, and a bit on business development. We hope to continue this training and focus on skills that invest in our workforce and crew.
For the second year the HNFP crew participated in food collection and preparation for the 2019 Traditional Food Fair. This year the crew helped with beach asparagus and blueberries. We hope to continue to grow this aspect of the HNFP crew. We are thrilled with their skills in forest management, and we’d like to continue to give back to the community through events like this.
Next Year We March On!
Next year will be here before we know it, and we’ll be spending a lot of time this winter figuring out what it will hold. We now have the public land management document to help guide our decisions. We’ll be continuing to increase the value of the thinning for wildlife by doing slash treatment. We also will be identifying new opportunities for stream restoration using hand tools.