HSC : January 2024 Completes Community Project Descriptions

Hoonah Stewardship Council

The Huna Stewardship Council met in January 2024 to continue their work around community project planning. This list of projects could be eligible for $30,000 in funding in partnership with Elizabeth Figus. The final projects for funding will be chosen by Hoonah community members through a survey. The goal of the meeting was to describe each project and why it may be needed.

On the call : Jackie Dick, Faith Grant, Jackson Combs, Elizabeth Figus, Erica Drahozal, Ian Johnson, Fred Parady, Jeromy Grant, Julian Narvaez

Next Steps : We’ll be creating a survey to be distributed online and to all PO Boxes to go through a ranking processes for these projects. Please keep an eye out for that!

  • City Water Assessment for Advance Notice to Support City Decision-Making
    • Need : Gartina watershed could dry in future years and the city doesn’t know when to limit water supply or when power may be decreased
    • Outcome : analysis of watershed water holding ability/capacity
    • Questions : Does the city have a vision for what this would look like? Is there a template? Do they  know what it would take and how expensive it would be? Does anyone in town have a cistern? How long would the project last? how long would the analysis be useful for?
  • Disaster Planning, climate risk analysis
    • Need : We do no have a disaster plan right now, need a plan for the wellbeing for the community
    • Outcome : create a plan for large natural disasters, wildfire, oil spills or cruise ship/oil tank catastrophes, Hoonah could be a leader on this issue
    • Questions : How can we get City involved? Can we adapt the USFS disaster plan? 
    • Elizabeth sees climate change connection in the angle of how risk and disasters are expected to change due to climate change
  • Mudslide/Landslide Monitoring, partner with Sitka
    • Need : Hoonah is unmapped and in a potential landslide area
    • Outcome : Increased safety for homeowners, an emergency plan, a map of landslide risk, a safety alert network
  • Green Crab Invasives (and invasives broadly)
    • Need : green crabs could be coming anytime and we need to catch them early, black slugs are everywhere and spreading, invasive plants on water and land (thistles and daisies)
    • Outcomes : regular monitoring for crabs using minnow and light traps (jobs), protecting our coastal food system (crab and shellfish), protect environment, protecting commercial and private industries
    • potential 2024 RASOR program student research project on green crabs
    • connection to climate change through potential to destabilize already at risk coastal areas
    • Question: What can be done about the black slugs? How bad are they for our environment? 
  • Snow Pack Monitoring
    • Need : we do not have depth snow depth data and because we don’t know about human impact or salmon stream/deer impact of snow
    • Outcome : data on snow depth of decision
    • What would this funding significantly improve? 
  • Stream Temperature Monitoring Network, Spaaski
    • Need : stream temperature salmon and salmon lifecycles. We need to understand how much streams are warming and where
    • Outcome : we would be able to predict how resilient our salmon streams are to future warming/climate change
    • Are we doing Dissolved Oxygen right now? What would this funding significantly improve on what we are already doing?
  • Wild Berries
    • Need : increase the food that people pick and eat, support cultural harvesting, increase opportunities for elders, berries are declining as young growth disappears
    • Outcome : We have a place to raise wild berries, like a garden
    • Questions : how do we integrate this in town? How do we make this more accessible in town? How do we implement this as a cohesive recreation strategy? 
    • Work related to berries going on around Alaska (we can reach out to UAF scientists if we want to get information about other berry projects): https://alaskapublic.org/2023/09/20/new-berry-booklets-for-alaska-pickers-combine-traditional-knowledge-and-science/ 
    • Elizabeth sees relation to climate change with expected changing conditions for berries in future years/decades
  • Shellfish population data
    • Need : shellfish are not surveyed right now and are under pressure from ocean change (acidification) and otters and people. 
    • Outcome : shellfish populations densities wherever people want them
    • Questions : where do people want them? Do commercial kelp farms provide resilience for shellfish against acidification?  How do we measure ocean acidification in a way that we can actually deduce from? Are they indicator species?
  • Mercury in Food
    • Need : there isn’t a current snapshot of mercury in SE Alaska (Known to be most at risk: animals that live a long time and eat high on the food chain – state of Alaska does some mercury sampling; International Pacific Halibut Commission has data about mercury in halibut generally)-we could ask Andrew Cyr, Kathy Burek Huntington, Todd O’Hara, Ellen Chenoweth for guidance/extra funding, Harbor Seal Commission
    • Outcome : healthier hoonah, decreasing risks to cancer
    • Question: are people in Hoonah concerned about mercury? How would we do this in a way that avoids scaring people or giving poor directions about how to safely harvest? Should we also sample for lead or other dangerous heavy metals in shellfish or other animals? How do we educate people on this issue?
  • Messaging
    • Need : the message of this work is not getting out right now
    • Outcome : better community engagement
  • Youth Service Projects
    • Need : integrate any of these projects into youth
  • Black Seaweed Seeding
    • Need : Harvesting are far away and not diverse
    • Outcome : closer harvest sites, greater site diversity, learning on how to steward black seaweed
    • QUestion : what is temperature difference in sites?
  • Herring Re-introduction
    • Need : Have a local population that people can harvest from and to support wildlife
    • Outcome : herring population to support Hoonah to harvest local eggs. 
    • Questions : How do we get a barter permit to get eggs from Sitka? Would this improve anything in Hoonah? What would the goal be for Hoonah herring? How can we meet about that? How would you monitor for this? Who else could partner on this?
  • Smokehouse Program
    • Need : not everyone has a smokes, important for culture and food sovereignty
    • Outcome : we would build somkehouses for community members and elders
    • Questions : Would this be at individual houses or be a community resource? 
  • Whale monitoring/ Coastal resource monitoring
    • Need : Population monitoring along with the park service to help with compliance around the whale watching industry. Monitoring of coastal resources for subsistence food, ocean monitoring, and commercial fisheries monitoring
    • Outcome : HIA would form a program and hire people.
    • Questions What would it take to get more coast guard licensing in Hoonah? Why do we find whales on the beach dead? 
  • Improve fish cleaning area at harbor
    • Need : current fish cleaning contributes pollutant into the harbor and increases bear attracting
    • Outcomes : improved cleaning areas for harvesters, and decreasing bear food in town
  • Mapping graves at Pitt Island and providing a facelift
    • Need : graves are unmarked, not well maintained right now
    • Outcome : better public safety, Cultural revitalization, ATVs can transfer coffins and people, coastal stewardship
    • Elizabeth sees connection to climate change in terms of need to stabilize in the face of increasing extreme weather brought on by climate change (ex. tree fell on totem pole)
  • Establish recycling center
    • Need : we don’t do this right now, anything that we don’t recycle goes into the burn pit
    • Outcomes would be : healthier air and soils, healthier water, less leaching out into the ground, less trash going into the burn pit extending life of the landfill, more opportunity to reuse things – for instance cardboard boxes have many uses
  • Compositing –
    • Need  – Increase health of soil, There are a lot of people in town that cannot do that anymore, Mitigating bear conflict issues
    • Central location for people to compost and access compost
    • Increased opportunity for gardens, decreased bear conflict, great food security, increased food sovereignty, Increase local participation and being a part of the solution to bear conflicts and local gardening
    • Question : can we add cardboard to this? Can we worm farm with this? Who could be partners in this?
    • Faith has verma worms
    • Elizabeth sees connection to climate change through the food security/sovereignty angle

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