USFWS
Fisheries & Ecological Services
Alaska Region   

 

Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office
Fisheries and Habitat Restoration

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program:

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program works with private and other non-federal landowners who wish to voluntarily restore fish and wildlife habitats on their land. This program emphasizes reestablishment of native vegetation and natural ecological systems that benefit fish and wildlife while meeting the needs and desires of private landowners. We offer informal advice on the design and location of potential restoration projects, and pay up to 50% of project costs. The Fish Passage Program provides technical assistance and federal funds to remove, replace, or retrofit culverts, weirs, abandoned dams or other structures that impede fish movement. This program also supports surveys of fish barriers within important watersheds. Funds may be used for projects on both public and private lands.

 

Habitat Restoration Projects: Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary

This project restored a retired 25 acre gravel pit, now known as Wander Lake, in an increasingly urbanized section of Fairbanks, Alaska east of Wedgewood Resort. Gravel was mined from the site for a number of years, ending some time in the 1990s. Before restoration, the lake was very steep-sided, deep (up to 60’) and the gravel banks supported mainly invasive white sweet clover. The goal of the project was to preserve and improve wildlife habitat in an area under heavy development pressures in recent years.

Planting cattaiils

The project was a partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Service and Fountainhead Development. Several community groups participated in the restoration efforts and ongoing monitoring projects including the Wounded Warrior Transition Unit from nearby Fort Wainwright Army Base, local Boy and Girl Scout troops, the Fairbanks Cooperative Weed Management Area, and the USFWS Youth for Habitat program. This site has become an area widely used by resident and visiting bird watchers, as well as local school groups. Fact Sheet

Streambank Restoration Workshops:

Mitch Osborne, one of our fisheries biologists, partnered with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to provide several workshops on streambank restoration for landowners and interested residents in the Fairbanks area. The program provided funding and technical project design assistance for public ad private landowners to sustain and enhance valuable riparian habitat in Fairbanks area river basins. Fact Sheet

For information about upcoming workshops, contact Mitch Osborne 907-456-0209

Partnerships:

  • Fairbanks Northstar School Borough
  • Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District
  • City of Fairbanks
  • Tanana Valley Watershed Association

Why preserve and restore stream bank habitat?

Native vegetation growing along stream banks (also known as the riparian zone) provides habitat for fish and wildlife and limits erosion because the plant roots help stabilize the soil. When water flows over areas with intact riparian vegetation, it slows, and the erosive power is diminished.
Riparian zone
The Riparian zone provides very important habitat for fish, birds and insects. It also filters out impurities from rain run off and is a buffer zone between the land and the water.
Landowners will sometimes remove the native vegetation along their property to improve the views and access to the water. When the bank starts to erode, land-owners often add cement or rock, a process is known as streambank hardening . Streambank hardening can cause serious problems both for fish and wildlife who depend on the riparian zone and for areas downstream because when the water flows over
hardened streambanks, it speeds up. As the current speeds up, it increases erosion downstream.

 

During spring breakup, areas with hardened streambanks also have increased erosion caused by the ice flows.
Streambank restoration techniques can be used to repair hardened and eroded banks and restore some of their values as wildlife habitat.

Last updated: January 7, 2014