This page provides periodic updates on the efforts being undertaken to develop a Fish & Wildlife Program for the Eklutna Hydroelectric Project. If you are interested in receiving emails when new updates are posted, please contact Samantha Owen.
After receiving comments from the Technical Work Group (TWG) and others on the Draft Study Plans, the Project Owners held multiple meetings with the TWG in November and December 2020 to discuss their comments. The Project Owners then revised the study plans based on all comments received, and distributed the Revised Draft Study Plans to the TWG on January 18, 2021 for a second round of review and comment. Another meeting with the TWG was held on January 25, 2021 to review the major revisions to the study plans and to answer any clarifying questions from the TWG before the comment deadline on January 29, 2021. The Project Owners revised the study plans again to address the second round of comments from the TWG, and then distributed the Proposed Final Study Plans to the Parties to the 1991 Fish and Wildlife Agreement on February 24, 2021 for review and concurrence. The Project Owners are currently working to obtain all necessary permits and authorizations for the planned summer field work season.
In September 2020 the project owners’ technical team held several meetings with the TWG to establish a study program framework. The project owners then developed Draft Study Plans and distributed them to the TWG on October 26, 2020 for review and comment. The comment deadline was November 25, 2020. A subsequent TWG meeting was held on November 30, 2020 to review the TWG’s comments on the Draft Study Plans. The project owners continue to work with the TWG to address their comments and finalize the study plans by early next year.
Earlier this year the project owners’ acquired aerial imagery, spherical videography, and LiDAR of the entire Eklutna River as well as the northeastern shoreline of Eklutna Lake along the lakeside trail. The spherical videography is now available online at https://biglook360.com/
In June 2020 a Technical Work Group (TWG) was established for study planning purposes. The TWG consists of technical experts and representatives from the following entities:
- Native Village of Eklutna
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- National Marine Fisheries Service
- Trout Unlimited
- Alaska Pacific University
- Alaska Institute for Climate and Energy
- Hydropower Project Owners
The first TWG meeting was conducted on July 15 in preparation for a site reconnaissance that was conducted the following week. The purpose of the site reconnaissance was to further familiarize the utilities’ technical experts with the existing conditions in the Eklutna River and surrounding area. Immediately following the site reconnaissance, a second TWG meeting was conducted on July 23 to kick off the study planning process. Over the next few months, the utilities’ technical experts will be working with the TWG to develop study plans, which are expected to be finalized and submitted to the Governor by the end of the year.
On Thursday April 16, 2020, a meeting was held with agencies and interested parties to review preliminary comments on the Draft Initial Information Package (IIP), discuss information needs, and establish a technical work group (TWG) for study planning. Meeting minutes are available on the Documents page of this website under Final Documents. The comment deadline for the Draft IIP was April 24, 2020. All submitted comments are also available on the Documents page of this website under Comments on Draft Documents. The project owners are currently reviewing all submitted comments and will address them in the Final IIP. A site reconnaissance is planned for the week of June 15 to further familiarize the owners’ team with the existing conditions in the Eklutna River and surrounding area. The owners have reached out to those who agreed or volunteered to participate in the TWG to confirm their interest. The first TWG meeting will be scheduled shortly after the site reconnaissance. The owners’ team is also acquiring aerial imagery, videography, and LiDAR this spring which will be made available to the TWG for study planning purposes.
On March 24, 2020, the project owners uploaded the Draft Initial Information Package (IIP) to the Documents page of the project website for review and comment. A meeting with agencies and interested parties is scheduled for Thursday April 16, 2020 to review any preliminary comments on the Draft IIP, agree on information needs, and establish one or more technical workgroups for study planning. Comments on the Draft IIP can be submitted to Samantha Owen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and are due by Friday April 24, 2020. The project owners will review all submitted comments and address them in the Final IIP.
During the last week of August, the owners’ team conducted a site reconnaissance of the Eklutna River. The primary goal was to provide the project owners’ technical and regulatory staff with the chance to review and observe site conditions and project facilities. In addition, the site reconnaissance allowed technical staff to assess the potential scope of study efforts needed to provide the Governor and his/her staff with data to establish the Fish and Wildlife Program required by the 1991 Fish and Wildlife Agreement. For more information, please reference the trip report which can be found on the Documents page of this website under Final Documents.
The project owners held a technical group follow-up meeting on July 16, 2019 to promote discussion amongst the resource agencies and interested parties. At the meeting, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Eklutna Inc. and the Native Village of Eklutna each presented a summary of some of their ongoing studies and data collection that are currently being conducted in the Eklutna River basin. In addition, the owners presented some additional project details and summarized the comments received from agencies and interested parties thus far. During the last week of August, the owners’ team will be conducting a site reconnaissance of the Eklutna River to become familiar with the existing habitat and surrounding area.
In March and April 2019, the project owners initiated the consultation process by meeting with state and federal agencies and other interested parties to introduce the program development team, review the requirements of the 1991 Fish & Wildlife Agreement, present the anticipated schedule, and listen to any preliminary issues or concerns.
The owners met with the following entities:
- Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G)
- Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC)
- Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR)
— Division of Mining, Land, and Water
— Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR)
— Office of History and Archaeology (OHA)
- National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
- Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU)
- Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF)
- Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC)
- Native Village of Eklutna
- Eklutna Inc.
- The Conservation Fund
Thank you for your interest in the development of the Eklutna Fish & Wildlife Program.
If you have any questions regarding the project or program development, please complete the provided form, and a member of our team will get back to you.