Focus group tour
On Thursday, August 26th, about 30 masked aficionados of dynamic Fish Creek delta assembled on invitation from MRV Architects (Minch Ritter Voelckers), to explore several points of interest, on and off trail, and to share their diverse experience and opinions about succession, human use, and the most strategic features to maintain, protect, or improve. To learn from them, and to represent Discovery Southeast, Steve Merli, Bess Crandall and I attended.
For the past year, Discovery has been helping the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition (SAWC) with a broad natural-&-cultural history review and assessment for a 194-acre project area at the mouth of Fish Creek. Initially, we came together with converging ideas about problems, and opportunities to do something creative at what the City manages as Natural Area Park. One ‘deliverable’ from Discovery to SAWC has been a combination scoping document and journal—a format that’s evolving into my favorite way to describe special places.
During Thursday’s discussion, many questions came up about matters that we at Discovery have been working with for decades (generations, actually!) Although my scoping document is not yet finished, it seemed a good time to share this fairly comprehensive draft of Part-1. I told Kevin Jeffery, MRV, that I’d post a copy to JuneauNature and send him the link to pass out to participants, and anyone else seeking background information on Fish Creek delta.
Part-2 of the draft is much longer—journal entries from many visits to the delta going back 20 years. If you see something of interest in the table of contents, let me know. I’m happy to share
Awesome Fish Creek resources from NatureBob
Thursday evening after the walk, I called Bob Armstrong (most conspicuously missing ‘brain’ in our ‘trust’) to report on the walkthrough, and ask for a list of stuff on his website most relevant to the delta study area. Here’s what he sent me:
“This is one of the best places in Juneau to observe wildlife. It is also, perhaps, the most important area on Mendenhall Wetlands for feeding and resting of waterfowl, and some shorebirds especially during winter months. I suggest that establishing the park as a wildlife viewing area be discussed. Elevated boardwalks, with fenced railings, should be considered. And establishing interpretive signs, somewhat similar to what was done at Pioneer Marsh in Anchorage.
In addition I suggest doing a complete analysis of the vegetation and aquatic insects and their value for waterfowl be completed to help understand how alteration of the environment might affect their value. And include the insects’ value for the bats and swallows that use the area. Here are some links to videos I have filmed in this area.”
● Waterfowl. Here’s of the best ones for visually documenting waterfowl that use this area.
● Stickleback Both anadromous and freshwater stickleback are abundant in the area. Stickleback are very important food for herons and otters. In a motion camera I set up at the toad pond for several days—every night herons would come to feed on stickleback. This video was filmed in the intertidal slough a short ways below the toad pond.
● Salmon. All except the part on Sockeye Salmon was filmed in Fish Creek —most just below and above the bridge in the State Park.
● Bald Eagles this was filmed in the intertidal slough near where the mallards feed and rest.
Oh yeah; and then there was this May . . .