The Watershed and Haines
The Takshanuk Watersheds: sustaining a way of life
The Takshanuk Watersheds have supported local residents for thousands of years with a rich and abundant fishery. Five species of pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus sp.) have evolved in the mountainous landscape over thousands of years. The Chilkat, Chilkoot and Ferebee Rivers flow from headwaters in British Columbia and the Yukon Territories of Canada, over rugged mountains, into the fjords of the Upper Lynn Canal. Haines, Alaska, located in northern southeast Alaska, is home to the confluence of these rich waters and the Pacific Ocean. Today, the region continues to thrive ecologically, its glacially-fed watersheds teeming with wild salmon, the largest concentration of Bald Eagles anywhere in the world, as well as brown bears, black bears, moose, wolves, lynx and wolverine. Takshanuk Watershed Council works to ensure the future of this vital legacy through restoration, education, research and stewardship of the rivers, lakes and lands. With the help of citizen participation and scientific research, our work benefits the natural ecology, economy and quality of life valued by local residents.
The town of Haines, Alaska helps define the lands and waters served by the Takshanuk Watershed Council. Nestled at the western base of the Takshanuk Range, with the Chilkat basin to the south and the Chilkoot and Ferebee basins to the north, Haines is economically linked to the fisheries resources abundant in these vibrant watersheds. For this reason, these systems are Takshanuk Watershed Council's areas of emphasis. Local watersheds encompass an enormous amount of pristine natural habitat that is abundant in salmon and other wildlife as well as human-altered landscape supporting residential, commercial and industrial development. These estuarine ecosystems have also been the nexus of an ancient trade route connecting Canadian First Nations groups to the sea, and the coastal Tlingits to the interior territory. Today, the village of Klukwan is located at the confluence of the Chilkat, Tsirku, and Klehini Rivers which flow to the Pacific Ocean. Salmon are the key species in the dynamics of all major watersheds. These watersheds are producers of large runs of all five salmon species, which support subsistence, commercial, and sports fisheries. Much of Takshanuk Watershed Council’s attention is focused on the well being of the areas salmon. Within this vast area, there exists a wide variety of landscapes and habitat types from glacial ice to dense coastal forest to wide expanses of wetland and bog. The Haines Borough has a population of about 2,250 and encompasses 2,344 square miles of land and 382 square miles of water. Land ownership is a complex mix of federal Bureau of Land Management, State of Alaska including Alaska Department of Natural Resources, University and Trust Land Office managed lands, Haines Borough and private landowners.