The Hoonah Indian Association’s Environmental Department has
been busy this year. Join us on a visual tour across four of our
core areas – Youth Programs, AmeriCORPs VISTA, Indian General Assistance
Program, and Hoonah Native Forest Partnership. This post is only the tip of the iceberg on the scope of work that was 2022!
Thank you to all of our partners that make this work possible!
Stay current with us :
During spring through summer 2022 HIA’s IGAP crew continued their work on the Alaska Department of Conservation’s BEACH program in effort to test and document fecal coliform/ecoli levels of Hoonah’s tier one beaches located by the harbor and at Inner Point Sophia beach. All together they conducted 32 waters samples, samples where collected every week on the same day and at the same time in effort to get the best data possible. To read more about the 2021 and 2022 BEACH study and results check out this link . https://dec.alaska.gov/water/water-quality/beach-program/hoonah/
Phytoplankton/shellfish Study continues.
HIA IGAP continues to collect environmental data to get a clear picture of the environment as it changes to help us plan for the future. Through the SEATOR program we are able to build the capacity of our local tribal member and school students to conduct scientific data collection including phytoplankton net tows, shellfish biomass, ocean acidification water samples, and shellfish sampling. Samples and data are collected by us, then sent to SEATOR for processing; then we get the data such as PSP toxin levels in our shellfish, heat maps showing health and density of shellfish population.
During the field season, normally spring through fall we spend a lot of time deploying all types of monitors to better understand the health of the stream networks in our watersheds. Monitoring for flow rate and water temprature gives us a better understanding of the conditions/health of our fish streams; helping us plan for better fish returns and a better environmental future.
We spent the school year collaborating with Hoonah City Schools. We ran two college credit courses in the high school (Oceanography in the spring and Fisheries Management in the fall) and supported science classes in both the secondary and elementary schools. It’s our goal for students to engage with science outdoors, or bring the outdoors in to them.
Our summer youth work crew, the Alaska Youth Stewards (AYS), spent 8 weeks working in the community and out the road with the Forest Service, Hoonah Native Forest Partnership, the Huna Heritage Foundation, National Park Service, and more! They assisted with stream monitoring and restoration projects, invasive plant species control, gathered valuable ecological data, tended our community potato garden, and harvested/processed food for Hoonah’s annual Traditional Food Fair.
We were very excited to offer several educational trips for Hoonah High Schoolers, and our AYS crew. On the itinerary for 2022 were: Sitka’s Whalefest, The American Indian Society for Science and Engineering’s College and Career Fair in Palm Springs, and two trips up to Glacier Bay for oceanography surveys with the National Park Service.
High schoolers traveled to Sitka to attend the WhaleFest Oceanography conference and learn about biology, harvesting and how to clean up oil spills.
Students have learned how to conduct shore surveys to look for invasive European Green Crabs through the Rural Alaskan Students in One-Health Research program.
We’ve been conducting community surveys and interviews to understand concerns and opinions about natural resource management and climate change in Hoonah.
IGAP Assistant Ricardo Contreras took weekly samples from ISP and the Harbor to monitor for harmful phytoplankton that can make shellfish toxic and ocean acidification which can harm the growth of salmon and crabs.
The Hoonah Native Forest Partnership and Alaskan Youth Stewards electrofished 18 miles of streams to document salmon habitat this summer.
A group of scientists from the Sitka Sound Science Center taught the AYS students about what causes landslides and how their work can help keep Hoonah safe.
Following the discovery of invasive crabs in Metlakatla, the IGAP department has started testing out methods for trapping to detect if they’ve made it to Hoonah yet.
The Alaskan Youth Stewards took a trip to Glacier Bay to do an oceanography survey to monitor water quality and learn more about the effects of climate change on the park.
The Hoonah Native Forest Partnership crew completed a stream
restoration in Spasski Watershed and forest improvements for deer
The Hoonah Native Forest Partnership and Alaskan
Youth Stewards electrofished 18 miles of streams
to document salmon habitat this summer.
HIA does such amazing work for/with the community. It’s great to see this overview of so much important work. It’s clear youth are a priority. It’s no wonder REAP is proud to partner with HIA through our SSP collaborations.