Partner Collaboration Results in Innovative Kachemak Sponge Project
By Katherine Schake • December 13, 2023
On Thursday, Dec. 7, community members gathered for the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust’s Annual Meeting to celebrate peatlands. Over 20 years of partnership between KHLT and the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, coupled with the City of Homer’s enthusiasm for green infrastructure to manage stormwater, and community support to conserve carbon in peatlands, has resulted in a significant project to purchase peatlands along Kachemak Drive for conservation and nature-based solutions to manage stormwater runoff...
Celebrating Daisy Lee
KHLT Founding Board Member, Daisy Lee Bitter, recently celebrated her 95th birthday. To listen to the KBBI Coffee Table community tribute, click the link below. Happy birthday to Daisy Lee!
KHLT: A salmon habitat partner
Salmon are just as dependent on the land as the sea. Kachemak Heritage Land Trust provides key protections to Kenai Peninsula salmon.
KHLT Protects health of Salmon Habitat on Kenai River and Soldotna Creek
As of June 10, 44.01 acres of critical salmon habitat are
now protected in perpetuity. Kachemak Heritage Land Trust has conserved these vital lands and will steward the land for the future, making sure important salmon and wildlife habitat are conserved forever. This project was made possible by funding from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) mitigation plan for Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Sterling Highway MP 45-60 project. This is the third and fourth property KHLT has been able to protect with funding from this source.
4.01 acres of this recent conservation project are adjacent to Big Eddy day use area. Of the 4.01 acres, 1.5 are wetland-associated upland and 2.3 are riverine wetlands. These wetlands provide important functions and services to the area including pollution filtration, sediment control, flood management, and groundwater temperature control which is especially crucial to the survival of baby salmon. Another 40 acres are now conserved on Soldotna creek, a tributary of the Kenai River. This 40-acre property contains 31.2 acres of flat wetland, 7.4 acres of slope wetlands, and 1.5 acres of riverine wetland. These properties meet the mission of KHLT as their permanent protection will contribute to the overall health of the anadromous Kenai River and Soldotna Creek and their greater watersheds, and provide valuable habitat for large and small mammals, birds, and anadromous fish.
Kenai Wetlands Protected in Perpetuity
As of April 4, 2022, 66.6 acres of critical wetland habitat in Kenai are protected in perpetuity by Kachemak Heritage Land Trust (KHLT) as part of a (USACE) mitigation plan for Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Sterling Highway MP 45-60 project. This incredibly valuable property is adjacent to 400 acres of Kenai Peninsula Borough land and will now be protected forever.
Thanks to this mitigation project, KHLT is able to protect the important functions of wetlands including pollution filtration, sediment control, groundwater temperature modulation, flood management, and habitat for salmon, moose, bears, and bald eagles. This property contains significant wetlands that are vital to the health of the adjacent world class anadromous Kenai River. In fact, the 66.06-acre property contains 40.5 acres of flat wetlands, 5.9 acres of slope wetlands, 3.7 acres of riverine wetlands, and an unnamed creek with documentation of rearing Coho, Salmon, Chinook Salmon, and Dolly Varden.
By protecting these wetlands, a portion of Alaska’s most popular salmon fishing river, the Kenai River is being preserved for generations to come. The incredible abundance and size of fish, and ease of access to the river, will be maintained into the future. This mitigation project is ensuring that land in Kenai is protected perpetuity for the benefit of fish, wildlife, Kenai residents, and Kenai River users.
King Maker 2021: Hannah Heimbuch
The King Maker Award recognizes individual Alaskans, from landowners to schoolchildren, making a difference for salmon. The goal of King Maker is to share with people the value of protecting habitat critical to salmon, helping to ensure long-lasting conservation. KHLT has crowned a King Maker annually since 2016.
Hannah, a Homer local who now lives in Kodiak, grew up in the fishing community. Hannah’s parents and grandparents were fishermen in Alaska and Hannah was in her 20s when she began fishing on her dad’s boat. Now, in addition to commercial fishing, Hannah works as Alaska Marine Conservation Council’s Community Fisheries Organizer. She is an advocate for protecting salmon habitat and fishing sustainably. Kachemak Heritage Land Trust was lucky to have Hannah as a board member from BLANK to BLANK. In this year’s annual meeting, Hannah helped bridge the audience’s understanding of the connection between the health of land and the health of salmon.
Quote from award winner Hannah Heimbuch: “It's such an honor to be called one of the Land Trust's Kingmakers. Working with KHLT was incredibly formative early on in my professional life as a fisherman and a conservation advocate, and helped shape my understanding of land stewardship. Growing up in an Alaskan fishing family, and today as an independent commercial fisherman, my life has always revolved around salmon. Those connections grow deeper every day as I learn more and more about how to nurture and sustain the salmon communities that raised me. I am grateful for the ecosystem of naturalists, scientists, harvesters, artists, advocates and all-around dedicated community members that connect through KHLT. We share a love for wild places, renewable resources, and relationship to place that inspires me every day.”
Quote from Marie McCarty, KHLT Executive Director: “The King Maker award is our way of celebrating people who do good for salmon. In a world that is increasingly complicated, it’s important to honor those whose work for our Alaskan salmon and people who are role models for the rest of us. Thanks to Hannah Heimbuch for her years of concern and action to ensure we have salmon stocks long into the future.”
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