Welcome to the highlights of the HIA Environmental Department. This newsletter is a high-level look at the many opportunities and program happening in our department RIGHT NOW! In 2021, we determined that a digital newsletter is better than our mail-distributed ones of the past. To receive this newsletter please sign up on our website and share with others!
We are free! Free from facing the many challenges winter brings. (*Fingers Crossed*) With that said though we are looking forward to a very busy field season and we’d like to share our plans as well as bring a few new people along with us. Hoonah Indian Association is hiring RIGHT NOW so get your applications in and join us on our exciting new opportunities. Along with what we are looking forward to, we’ll let you in on things our environmental departments have been up to for the last few months.
We’re Hiring Now
HIA is hiring for the field 2022 field season now. Get your applications in ASAP if you’re interested in joining our Hoonah Native Forest Partnership Crew (HNFP) or for AYS (TRAYLS) crew.
HIA hired Julian Narvaez-Wiener as Environmental Education Coordinator. He’s excited to be here and is thankful for the warm welcome he’s received. A short bio is on our contact page: Contact us – HIA Environmental (hia-env.org).
Coordination has begun for this year’s AYS (formerly TRAYLS) internships, and the calendar is starting to fill up. We have a great summer planned for participants and will start interviewing applicants this week. We’re grateful to all of HIA’s partners that have helped bring this amazing program to Hoonah’s youth each year!
HIA Environmental is in its second semester of partnering with Hoonah City Schools and University of Alaska Southeast to provide dual enrollment science courses to high school students. You can read what we’ve been up to here: Oceanography 101 – The First Two Months – HIA Environmental (hia-env.org)
Hoonah IGAP Department
We have been conducting shellfish samples all winter long as part of our routine check in to how our shellfish Paralytic Shellfish Toxin(PST) levels are in local shellfish. Unfortunately SEATOR has had supply chain issues resulting in some considerable delays on the results of the testing. We realize the data we have been able to provide has become important to you as it helps inform your decisions and helps avoid Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). Our results that have come in are posted on our social media and this website. Current Advisory Shellfish Conditions – HIA Environmental (hia-env.org) , HIA Environmental Program | Facebook
The IGAP department wrote and submitted a grant for a three year study of Hoonah’s ambient air quality. Our proposed study will measure and record levels of particulate matter, specifically PM2.5 and PM10 in 3 locations (landfill, boat haul out, center of town) throughout our community. This study will show what Hoonah’s air is like in spring, summer, and fall seasons and how if is affected by factors like weather, wood smoke, traffic. We plan to use this data to produce a detailed map of Hoonah’s air quality that can be used to help make decisions on and for future projects.
Hoonah BEACH Program
Spring is here and summer is fast approaching! It’s time to get out and have fun in the water harvesting, boating, and swimming. To help ensure the safety of the community while partaking in water activities or harvesting, the BEACH monitoring will be happening again!
This year the first sample will be in June. It’ll be a continuation of the study we did in 2021. This year there will be a lot of folks and ships visiting Hoonah. If you would like to learn more about what we found while sampling the local beach waters, you may find that information here. Hoonah Alaska Beaches .
AmeriCorps VISTA Program
Brynn Presler-Marshall is now serving as the fourth AmeriCorps VISTA with the Hoonah Indian Association Environmental program and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. She’ll be focused on natural resource monitoring and youth education, so feel free to stop by the HIA Environmental office to say hi or send her an email at email@example.com!
HIA has been working towards a biomass heat and electric generation facility. What does that mean? It means we utilizing wood chips to generate heat and electricity.
Why are we doing it? Energy soveriegnty is important – we can save money on electricity and heat to bring new initiatives into town. Cheaper electricity and heating make a cultural museum, a commercial-scale greenhouse, and apartment housing possible. Current energy rates are a barrier.
Local energy helps us create new jobs and get off fossil fuels. Responsibly sourced woody biomass reduces carbon footprint compared to fossil fuels.
Have questions about this project? Contact Ian Johnson
First off – we’re hiring for the year! Hopefully you saw that above. If you want a job working outside all day, every day then please apply at HIA.
This year we’ll be doing fish surveys, deer habitat work, and stream restoration. The goal of all of these projects are to restore the health of our watersheds, meet the needs of land managers, and improve the abundance and access of resources to Hoonah. Specific work this year includes:
- Surveying for presence of salmon in streams
- Improving deer habitat in Wukuklook
- Road surveys and inventory
- Stream restoration in Spasski.
To catch up with what happened last year review : HNFP Review and Looking Ahead
We have been working towards commercial greenhouses in Hoonah. The goal is to create 1,800 sqft of commercial greenhouse to provide to local businesses and the community of Hoonah. This project would be paired to the biomass facility so that the greenhouses could run 365 days a year!
Food prices are only going up! Our community gardens are a great way to learn to grow your own food. The 4×10 plots are FREE and are an amazing opportunity for students and family. Get ahold of Ian to reserve one today!
Hoonah Indian Association was selected for four pieces of funding through the Sustainable Southeast Alaska Strategy Investments (SASSi) by the USFS. The funding will include:
- A legacy roads to trails project. We’ll be working with the community to determine which old roads may be best turned into trails. It would create recreation opportunities for Hoonah and close a few roads in the process.
- Youth-based work/funding. This pot of money will be used to support the Alaska Youth Stewards program and our work in the school bringing natural resource and science opportunities to students.
- North Chichagof Deer work. Developing a model for providing deer data to managers. Will be working with Pelican, Gustavus, and Hoonah to train people to collect ADF&G Survey data. The goal of all of this is for Hoonah and communities in our area to be involved in deer management.
- Snow pack monitoring. We’re working with the City to install snowpack monitoring stations in our local municipal watershed .The data will help us better understand the effect of climate/weather on our local streams – not just for human use but our salmon too.