Rebound, succession, fish&wildlife, and aviation on Juneau’s Mendenhall Wetlands In 2011, Jeff Sauer at Juneau Audubon asked for a presentation…2011 | Richard Carstensen | 36-minute slideshow
Where streams & rivers meet the sea
Estuaries are the depositional surfaces where freshwater streams and rivers meet the sea. This category and its first 2 sub-categories consider the intertidal portions of these habitats. The 3rd sub-category addresses the adjoining supratidal meadows, shrub thickets, and young spruce forests that are especially common in the north where glacial rebound is occurring.
Mapping estuaries over a large region like Southeast Alaska is a classic exercise in landscape ecology. This requires dependence on huge spatial databases that may or may not be founded on ecological realities. In our work with freshwater wetlands, we’ve found the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) to be of limited utility. But salt marshes, mudflats and algal beds are more easily distinguished and mapped than the subtleties of peatlands and forested wetlands. This map shows how NWI plays out in the search for Southeast’s largest estuaries.
NWI maps about 350,000 acres of tidal estuaries on the Tongass, about 2% of its land area. Only 42,000 acres of this are covered with “emergent” vegetation, or salt marsh. But each estuary is the ecological nexus of its watershed, important far out of proportion to the area covered.
In this section
Beginning in late 2001, on contract with Airport EIS consultants SWCA, Bob Armstrong and I spent a full year surveying…2004 | Richard Carstensen & Bob Armstrong | 14 pages
‘Lost village’ of Áak’w Kwáan Every Tlingit Kwáan in Southeast Alaska has at least one ‘lost village,’ known in oral history…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 33 pages
I created an early version of this compilation while still living at the Scout camp at Asx’ée, twisted tree (Eagle River),…2020 | Richard Carstensen | 38 pages