Mapping collaboration

This section of Places>Biogeographic provinces is somewhat unconventional in that it does not adhere precisely to province boundaries as defined in 2007 by Audubon/TNC. Rather, it reflects an exciting new collaboration between Discovery Southeast and residents of what we define as the Greater Chilkat Watershed.

At the northern tip of Southeast Alaska’s inland waterway, 5 silt-laden transboundary rivers—fanned like fingers of a giant hand—converge into a fertile, glacier-fed ‘palm:’ Jilḵáat, cache (Chilkat River valley). Near the estuary, the port of Deishú, trail’s end  (Haines) greets raincountry travelers bound for drier, boreal realms in Canada and interior Alaska. Here is one of the continent’s great ecotones—a zone of transition, connectivity, genetic mixing, and commerce.

Audubon-TNC’s Chilkat biogegraphic province in pink. Ḵwáan boundaries green-outlined. Alaska-British-Columbia border dashed. Greater Chilkat Watershed—outlined in red—intersects all but excludes portions of each.

In early winter, 2019, I was invited by coalition of organizations based in the Greater Chilkat to compile a biogeographic and cultural atlas for this region. The map below shows its boundaries. Unlike the other mainland Biogeographic Provinces, which are clipped to the AK-BC border, this one extends inland to the heads of Canadian tributaries feeding ultimately into Chilkat River.

As of midsummer, 2021, Greater Chilkat Watershed: A living atlas stands at 177 pages, and counting  Introductory pages can be downloaded here. Check out the table of contents: anything there that you’d like to preview, write, or edit? Let me know—I’m happy to share drafts.

Our GCW atlas is organized by topic, in the traditional sequence of geology > habitats > fish&wildife > culture. In early 2021, we decided to create a companion atlas looking more closely at 18 subregions of the GCW.

GCW: Featured landscapes    Maps and resources specific to these featured areas are being added (summer 2021) to new sub-category pages. Stay tuned as we build these mini-atlases. . .

Greater Chilkat Watershed lies in a sudden rainshadow, to the north and west of Glacier Bay National Park. Canadian tributaries add 865 square miles to the 1,025 square miles of the Alaskan part of this basin, thus comprising 46% of GCW’s total 1,890 square miles.

Northeast along BC-AK border (the mowed swath on right) at Pleasant Camp. Taken in 2005 during a visit with naturalist Kathy Hocker to retake a ~1940s photo of Jarvis Glacier.

Because “atlas,” in its printed form, might conjure something static or ‘finished,’ we call this evolving effort a living atlas. Our intent is that this collection of maps and stories continues to grow, beyond conclusion of any one contract or funding cycle. In its online form—here on JuneauNature—the atlas is interactive. It coordinates and solicits contributions from the Chilkat Valley community—serving to identify gaps and unknowns as well as sharing what we do know.

As our project evolves, various branches of the mapping and story-telling effort will be listed below as linked content-pages, also accessible from Lynn Canal Conservation’s website.

Your feedback is appreciated as we develop this ‘living atlas.’ Among the early, draft products will be geopdfs for navigation within the Greater Chilkat Watershed. These are especially useful in the often-off-line GCW, because they give your position, track, photopoints, etc. using only the GPS on your device. From my constantly updating ArcGIS project, it’s  easy for me to crank out a custom, high-res geopdf for any subregion or subject matter. Just let me know what you need!

Downloadable geopdfs for the Greater Chilkat:    Lingít placenames    Bedrock geology  More detailed geopdfs can be downloaded for places in the Featured landscapes section.

Journal for July, 2019 visit:  From  20190706 to 08, when my sister Tina was visiting from Mexico, we ferried to Haines for a first meeting and exploration with folks from Lynn Canal Conservation. My 61-page journal is here. It focuses on the Little Salmon wetlands, and Nánde Héeni Yei Kéich Yé, sits in water facing north (Three Guardsmen pass)

In this section

Summary manual: 1992-93 workshops

Five districts, Northern & Central Lingít Aaní In the early years of Discovery Southeast (actually named Discovery Foundation back then),…

1993, digitized 2012, uploaded 2023 | Richard Carstensen & Greg Streveler | 88 pages

Bishop & Pollard 1991 Big Boulder

King salmon spawning reaches on Yakwyaax̱ Methods suggested for enhancing chinook spawning and rearing habitats in the alluvial fan channel…

1991 | Bishop & Pollard | 35 pages

Carstensen 1990 Big Boulder Creek historical series

Overlays as ‘pageflippers’ This was the only Environaid publication for which I was sole author. To prepare for field work,…

1990 | Carstensen-Environaid | 15 pages

Bishop 1981 Tsirku-Chilkat-Lake flooding

Trouble at the airstrip Where Chilkat Lake empties into Tsirku River, aggrading floodplains have created a delicately balanced flow regime…

1981 | Dan Bishop | 21 pages

Bishop 1981 Tsirku-Chilkat confluence

Hydrologic studies on a major salmon spawning habitat After a scoping visit for National Audubon, Dan’s next contract in Greater…

1981 | Dan Bishop | 30 pages

Bishop 1980 Chilkat streams

Chilkat valley streams: Late fall & winter salmon runs One of the first Environaid studies was commissioned by National Audubon…

1980 | Dan Bishop | 39 pages

Evening class-4: Jilḵáat debrief & roadtour prep

Wow! these cross-fingers worked! What an amazing trip! Even better than pure-blue skies, there were enough puffy clouds and mixed…

2022 | Richard Carstensen | Landforms class archives

Evening class-3: S’awdáan debrief: Jilḵáat intro

Prep for the big one: Below is what I wrote before the tour . . .won’t bother to change future…

2022 | Richard Carstensen | Landforms class archives

Chilkat Atlas introduction

Introductory pages to Greater Chilkat Watershed atlas As we flesh out the atlas, here’s a preview of where it’s heading.…

2021 | Richard Carstensen | 7 pages

Repeat photography Part-2: ground-based

Retakes field journals, 2005 season Summarizing the Repeat Photography Project for 2005, Kathy Hocker and I divided our field reports…

2005, 2nd ed 2013 | Richard Carstensen & Kathy Hocker | 40 pages

Chilkat journal, 20190706-08

A first visit with LCC In July, 2019, Jessica Plachta, director of Lynn Canal Conservation, offered to host my family…

2019 | Richard Carstensen | 61 pages

Chilkat bedrock geology.

Rock-type units from USGS Here’s a geology map for field navigation in more accessible portions of the Greater Chilkat Watershed—US…

2022 | Richard Carstensen | geopdf—10MB—& 33-page draft chapters

Chilkat place names

Jilkáat and Jilkoot Aaní, land of Chilkat & Chilkoot people The 2012 cultural atlas edited by Tom Thornton and Harold…

2020 | Richard Carstensen | geopdf, 17MB

Glacial & cultural history of northern Lingít Aaní

A fireside presentation My talk at the Visitor Center in February, 2020 explored the past 20,000 years of glaciation and…

2020 | Richard Carstensen | 27 minutes

Mud Bay survey for SEAL Trust

In June, 2013, Diane Mayer of Southeast Alaska Land Trust asked Koren Bosworth and me to survey and describe wetlands…

2013 | Richard Carstensen & Koren Bosworth | 64 pages, 12MB