Interest in forming a local watershed council surfaced in 2001. In fall of 2002, Southeast Conference solicited communities throughout Southeast Alaska for interest in forming watershed councils to help protect, conserve, and enhance salmon fisheries and habitat. The Community Watershed Project (CWP) was a cooperative agreement between Southeast Conference and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to administer Southeast Sustainable Salmon Funds and to help establish community-based watershed councils. Though interest in forming a watershed council based in Haines was sparked as early as 2000, Takshanuk Watershed Council was formally incorporated in 2003 with the financial support provided through the Community Watershed Project. Today, the council employs a full-time Executive Director, Watershed Education, Program Director and Science Program Director, a Graduate Research Intern, and three part-time seasonal Field Technicians.
Board of Directors
Norman Hughes, President and Chair
Norman first visited the Chilkat Valley in 1982 to fish subsistence coho salmon. He later moved to Haines in 1984 and took up commercial salmon gillnetting. He has been the owner and operator of the F/V Chilkat since 1988. He serves on several fishery-related community and non-profit boards including United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association, Douglas Island Pink and Chum, Lynn Canal Gillnetters Association and represents Douglas Island Pink and Chum in United Fishermen of Alaska.
Ray Staska, Vice President
Since moving to Haines in 1980, Ray has been an avid sport fisherman, hunter and backcountry enthusiast. He feels fortunate to have served as a Fishery Biologist with Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and was the first Haines Area Management Biologist for Commercial Fisheries in Lynn Canal. Ray conducted field research during the formation of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Through his work he also cataloged numerous salmon streams in the area, which previously had been unknown as salmon habitat. Ray is extremely interested in maintaining water quality, the high productivity of salmon habitat and the healthy fish populations within our unique watersheds. Ray's extensive field experience and knowledge of hydrologic systems within the area serves the council well.
Randy Bachman, Secretary
Randy first came to Alaska in 1981 and has worked with pacific salmon for most of his life. He earned a BS in Fisheries Science from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and manages the commercial and subsistence salmon fisheries produced by the Takshanuk watersheds. Randy feels honored to be involved with some of the most productive and pristine areas in southeast Alaska. Randy is always looking to learn more about the area's watersheds and through his professional and volunteer work. He believes in the importance of fostering a sustainable relationship between our watersheds and those who use them and sees a direct connection between watershed health and economy of upper Lynn Canal. Randy is an avid hunter and subsistence fisherman.
Ben Kirkpatrick, Treasurer
Ben moved to southeast Alaska in 1981 for the amazing skiing and paddling opportunities. He started working for Alaska Department of Fish & Game in 1984 and spent over 10 years as the Habitat Biologist for northern southeast Alaska, including Haines, before retiring in 2008. One of his last and favorite projects was helping to found watershed councils throughout southeast Alaska including TWC. This work reinforced his understanding about the connection between a healthy community and a healthy watershed. He believes community involvement and participation is critical to meeting these goals. Ben is also on the Steering Committee of Rivers Without Borders, a transboundary conservation organization, and a member of the Governor-appointed Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council.
Mark is the Haines High School Science Department. He has been living in Haines and teaching biology, earth science, marine biology, environmental science, chemistry and physics here since 1994. Mark knows that he has the best job at the school, because the natural surroundings in this area provide such an incredible science lab. His interest in volunteering for Takshanuk Watershed Council stems from his involvement in education as well as his interest in hunting, sport and subsistence fishing, hiking, and the commercial fishing industry. Mark's goal as a board member is to integrate the study and stewardship of our watersheds as fully as possible with the Haines Borough School District's Science curriculum. Mark believes all of the residents of the Chilkat and Chilkoot watersheds will benefit from better knowledge and deeper respect for our shared habitat.
Darise has been living in Haines 20 years since he came here to be a river guide for the summer and never left. He has two great little boys and loves to explore the Takshanuk and adjacent watersheds by foot, boat and skis. Darsie also has a serious condition that requires he go surfing in warm water every year for several months but manages to keep this condition in check by leading a semi-seasonal life between Alaska, Mexico and Hawaii. Darsie strongly believes that a healthy watershed leads to a healthy community. He is also passionate about environmental education and the positive values it can impart on our youth. Darsie serves on the board to contribute all he can to further the TWC mission. Darsie has a degree in Environmental Policy and 18 years of experience in adventure and educational travel. He has also been part of running several successful businesses and brings a strong background in risk management, creative marketing, and decision making.
Eli White, Student Representative
Brad Ryan, Executive Director
After years as a research scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Brad sold his house and traveled the world looking for a place to call home. After a year and half on a motorcycle Brad and his wife Jolanta decided Haines had the perfect mix of mountains, rivers, and sea. Brad has always had an interest in nature and still remembers reading Ranger Rick Magazine as a kid. Brad received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Portland in 1994 and Ph. D. in Environmental Science and Resources from Portland State University in 2005. As a research biologist who spent twelve years working in the highly impacted Columbia River Basin Brad relishes the idea of working to preserve and restore the relatively pristine Chilkat, Chilkoot, and Ferebee rivers.
Pam Randles, Watershed Education Program Coordinator
Pam has taught public school in rural Alaskan schools for fifteen years and trained teachers overseas for 15 years. Her teaching certificate is in Biology, but she has taught all grade levels and all subjects, including teacher education. Pam has always loved the outdoors and natural history and she is very happy to be outdoors and share her excitement (which is contagious) with others. Pam believes in a citizen science approach to learning about our watersheds. She teaches school children, community members and visitors who come to know the beauty and complexity of our watersheds, while contributing to our understanding of the myriad ecological interactions taking place every moment. Pam received a B.A. in Psychology/Biology from the University of California in 1962, and a M.S. in Northern Ecology from the University of Alaska in 1991. She holds a Life Teacher Certificate from the State of Alaska. In a past life, Pam served in the Peace Corps in Nepal as a teacher trainer. She has lived happily in Alaska since 1970 and has a wonderful daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. Pam's rainbow hair brightens the Takshanuk office year-round.
Dan Schultz, Science Program Coordinator
Dan came to Alaska in 2002 thinking that he would give himself four years to decide if this was the place for him. It only took the first couple of months for him to realize he was born a long way from home. Even after his first year in Alaska, working fisheries on the Tongass National Forest, he knew he wanted to find a way to make Haines his home. Dan bounced around Alaska for 7 years working all types of natural resources jobs before he landed in Haines with his partner Heather in the fall of 2008. Dan and Heather started their Haines life as urban homesteaders with part time jobs but Dan’s part-time job, field work with Takshanuk, turned into a promotion to Science Director in the spring of 2010. Dan enjoys the simplicity of life here in Alaska and the ability to harvest from the land its nourishment of body and soul.
Meredith Pochardt, Grow Strong Project Manager
Mario Benassi, Chilkat Forest Investigators and EcoProductions
Mark McNamara, EcoProductions