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Monitoring Water Temperatures in Streams and Rivers in Bristol Bay

Celeste Novak

An effort is underway to begin monitoring the water temperature in several rivers and streams in the Bristol Bay region in an effort to see if there are any impacts from climate change that could harm the regions tremendous salmon resource. The details of the project were outlined earlier this month during the Southwest Alaska Salmon Science Workshop held in Anchorage. The partners in the project include the Bristol Bay Native Association and the water quality watchdog group “Cook Inlet Keeper” based in Homer, which has been monitoring water temperatures in 48-streams over the last 5-years. The data from the study of steam temperatures in Cook Inlet showed several instances over the last few years when water temperatures in salmon bearing streams exceeded the statewide standards. Much of the funding for the initial startup of the new program comes from the Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership, the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust and the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. The 2-year Bristol Bay steam temperature monitoring project is expected to get started next year and the hope is to have the final monitoring plan finished by May.