How Will the Sustina Wantana Dam Affect Current Salmon Runs?

How Will the Sustina Wantana Dam Affect Current Salmon Runs?

February 1, 2014

Salmon fishing trips to Alaska may be affected by a dam set to undergo construction in just a few months. If you live in the lower 48, you may have not heard much about the Sustina Wantana dam project. Basically, the idea of a large dam project has been floating around for decades in Alaska; only in the last few years has the idea become a reality. The dam project is located in the south central part of the state and will provide an enormous amount of clean energy for the state. In fact the dam itself will be one of the largest in the United States if built.

The downside

The project is not without its detractors, particularly from some environmentalists and local residents who fear the dam will alter the ecosystem of the area in drastic and unknown ways. The 735 foot tall dam will change the river and affect water levels and flowing patterns.

One study showed the dam actually would stabilize water levels, although critics pointed out this may actually be a bad thing when it comes to how salmon travel during various seasons based on water levels. One major concern for many residents in the state is how this will affect salmon fishing trips to Alaska, since this provides employment and tourist dollars for many Alaskans.

The river areas around the proposed dam project currently enjoy great fishing all year round. Grayling, trout and salmon navigate the waters in abundance making for excellent fishing by locals and tourists alike. If the dam is built, the immediate area will most likely see a decline in tourist fishing due to the amount of construction in the area and publicity deterring people from seeking these areas as their destination when they travel to Alaska.

Successful fishing in the future

Once the dam is built though, experienced fisherman will most likely find new ways to successfully fish the waters. What this means for those taking a salmon fishing trips to Alaska, is that a greater reliance will be necessary on local professionals to guide an inexperienced fisherman on how to approach fishing in what might be a slightly altered ecosystem. Unless a serious change in fish population occurs directly around the area of the dam, fishing trips should be just as great as ever.

For this reason, if you are planning a fishing trip in the near future, it is important to stay up to date on information regarding the dam project. Especially if the project begins, you may want to contact local charter fishing companies to discuss how fishing in the area has been affected.

No one knows exactly what this project might bring, so talking to a local is the only reliable way to really find out. Consider calling well before planning the trip, then stay in touch to receive updates on how your trip may be affected. Hopefully the dam will prove to be a way to get more clean energy without hurting the natural ecosystem and ultimately messing up your fishing adventure!

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