Environmental Deapartment

Hydaburg Stream Assessment Crew

HCA has been authoring grants thru the IGAP Program to conduct stream assessments around the community and Island of POW. We request funding from both the Sstate of Alaska and the USFS to train our local tribal members in how to properly classify or verify stream habitat to maximize the protective measures placed on the vital salmon habitat in our forest. Over the past 5 years, we have been able to map or survey over 500 miles of rivers and streams. Our staff works closely with the Nature Conservancy and Kia Environmental to nominate streams we feel are important or not properly classified. We do this by filing our assessment data with the State Department of Natural Resources office, where they verify our data and may make changes to the list of salmon streams in our area. 

Our Program has been successful in adding several new undocumented miles of stream to the State Division of Forestry maps, which in essence, provides maximum protection for the salmon habitat in our areas. 

Over the course of the last 5 years, we have received grants from the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Grant Program, the State Division of Forestry, The Nature Conservancy, the US Forest Service, as well as support from Kia Environmental and Southeast Sustainable Partnership. Our program currently has funding to employ about 6 to 8 people this coming summer. We will be recruiting for additional stream crew assessors. Our program applied for and received a grant to provide training for 10 locals to get the skills necessary to engage in this type of work. Please watch for postings and we strongly encourage you to think about this rewarding work.  

Hydaburg Sockeye Projects

Eek Lake Sockeye are returning in very low numbers. The last two years of escapement data for the sockeye is dismal at best. There were less than 300 sockeye each year that were counted through the weir and validated by foot count. Numerous factors to the population decline are making it hard to put a handle on what we could do to help recover the sockeye run size back to a healthy and sustainable amount. Historically there were between 5,000 and 15,000 sockeye that returned to the system, making it a viable subsistence stream, but, the current escapement is not enough to sustain a harvest anymore. Our program will host a meeting this spring to ask local subsistence fishermen for input and support for some tough local decisions that need to be made for the long-term health and existence of the Eek Lake sockeye fishery. We have funding to conduct weir counts again this summer and look to staff it with three local tribal members. 

Hetta Lake sockeye are struggling as well. This last year, there were just over 7,000 sockeye counted passed the weir. We anticipated a return of 20,000 or better from the past weir escapement index. Our community was able to harvest a large portion of the run to meet our subsistence needs as a community, but, we are harvesting about a third of the run, with just over 3,000 sockeye coming from the Hetta system in the community harvest reporting program. Again, we will be hosting an informational meeting about this project this spring. We are looking to educate our community on what we have accomplished to date with the project and some of the challenges we face moving into the future with our sockeye resources. 

Hetta Lake was just selected through a competitive process to receive four more years of funding. Hetta Lake Project employs four tribal members. 

Hydaburg Wolf Project

HCA has been conducting wolf population surveys for the past two years. The first year was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Agency. We were able to conduct the project partnership with the State of Alaska, USFS and the Nature Conservancy. The funding we received was $132,000.00 and went ot hire the staff and pay for the wolf samples to be genetically identified. Once the data was compiled, the area biologists were able to get a better idea of the wolf population on POW. There have been years of speculationg by outside interest groups that the wolf population was low on POW, but, the residents have been saysing otherwise. Our Project worked to find funding to engage with our local wildlife managers to see what we could do to help get a better estimate on the population of wolves in our area. The wolves directly affect the number of deer available to our local hunters to feed our subsistence needs.

The first year was very successful. We were able to learn the protocols and gathered the most samples of all the partnering agencies. Our data was able to help our local USFS manager raise the POW wolf quota from 11 wolves in 2016 to 47 wolves in 2017. They publicly stated that our work was instrumental in providing a larger quota for wolves, increasing the subsistence opportunity for POW residents who wish to hunt wolves.

Our program was awarded additional funding from the USFS Joint Chief Program of which $132,000.00 was available for wildlife projects. We utilized the funding to conduct a second year of the wolf survey project, hiring community members to go collect genetic samples (hair). We successfully completed the second season of sample collection and are currently running a trail camera project to gather as many pictures of wolves as we can, so that we know where to place our sample boards next season. All the data has been transferred to the USFS for analysis, hopefully we will see another increase in the wolf quota this year. The deer population is low in our area so whatever help we can get to increase our hunting success the better.

HCA Envrionmental Waste Reduction Activities

Spring Clean up Event in April. The City of Hydaburg and the Tribe will work together to get all the major appliances, cars, scrap metal, metal boats, batteries, etc staged at the landfill this month. There is a scrap barge coming the middle of April. Please contact either Tony Peele at HCA or Dean Edenshaw at the City of Hydaburg if you have something you want removed. LET'S KEEP HYDABURG CLEAN TOGETHER!!!

HCA recycle center is going to send out our stock of batteries on the upcoming scrap barge. Please bring your lead-acid batteries to the recycle center building for proper disposal before the end of April. 

Electronic Waste Collection will be on May 22nd and 23rd 2018. This is being hosted by the Island Tribes. Please watch for the flyers near you. If you, or the business you work for has a pile of old computers, TVs, Printers, etc, that need disposal, the HCA can pick up and store it for the annual event. Please feel free to contact our HCA office for more information. 


HCA renvironmental began testing our shellfish last year for PSP and other harmful algael blooms that can affect our health. We created a program to conduct routine sampling of the clams and athe surrounding water quality. Results of the testing are posted in and around the community to inform people of any findings. We took three months off from testing due to staff turnover and retraining staff to properly conduct the sampling. We will resume the testing in April, when our harvest efforts go up and the possibility of a local algae bloom increases with the spring weather. For more information about our PSP program, feel free to contact Anthony Christianson(Tony Peele) at the HCA office. 

Wood for Heat?

HCA environmental will be conducting a survey of homes and business' in the community to see how many people are utilizing wood as a heat source and what types.  In the past few years, the community as a whole has went back to wood as a primary heat source. From individual homes to changing from oil back to wood and the school district putting wood fired technology, we are going to see a change in the community air quality, both indoors and out. Our survey hopes to gather information about what types of wood stoves people are using to what types of wood is being burned. We want to look at the baseline information to educate the community on what are the best and lower emissions in our close proximity community. We are going to conduct a test on varousw wood types to see which have the highest BTU's, but burn the cleanest. Please watch for our survey in the upcoming months. Feel free to contact the HCA envrironmental department for more information or look on the EPA website and serch the "Burnwise Program". It provides information on proper ways to burn wood and ways to improve your home air quality.