“The Tongass is America’s salmon forest and one of the few places in the world where wild salmon and trout still thrive. Some 65 percent of Tongass salmon and trout habitat is not Congressionally protected at the watershed scale, and is currently open to development activities that could harm fish. It’s time for Congress to better protect the richest resource of the Tongass: wild salmon.”
Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program Director
Trout Unlimited is working to gain permanent, watershed-level protection for some of the best salmon and trout habitat in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest that remains open to development. The Tongass 77 campaign is about making salmon and trout a priority in some of America’s most pristine but threatened watersheds. Learn more and take action at www.americansalmonforest.org .
Trout Unlimited’s Tongass 77 campaign seeks to gain permanent Congressional protection of 1.8 million acres of high-value salmon and trout habitat in Southeast Alaska’s coastal temperate rain forest. With the support of commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen, Alaska Natives and others, the Tongass 77 proposal will conserve the 77 highest-value salmon and trout watersheds that are not currently protected at the watershed scale and are open to activities that could damage fish habitat. These watersheds are located within the Tongass National Forest, the country’s largest and most unique national forest. Tongass salmon and trout form the economic backbone of Southeast Alaska but are not yet the management priority on the Tongass National Forest – something the Tongass 77 would help change. A growing number of scientific studies highlight the importance of watershed-scale conservation for salmon and trout, and a recent poll shows overwhelming public support for such an approach. The goal of the Tongass 77 campaign is to forever make salmon conservation the top priority in these key watersheds. Learn more about The Tongass 77 .
A study commissioned by Trout Unlimited and released in 2011finds that Southeast Alaska's healthy salmon and trout populations contributed nearly $1 billion to the regional economy and accounted for close to 11 percent of regional jobs in 2007. This first-of-its-kind study takes a combined look at the economic value of all four sectors of the region's salmon and trout fisheries – commercial, sport, subsistence/personal use and hatchery production. Previous studies have looked at each of the sectors separately.
"The study shows the healthy and abundant salmon and trout populations of Southeast Alaska are a huge driver of the regional economy. The reason we have such a rich and sustainable fisheries is careful harvest management as well as a lack of the dams, pollution, and agricultural and urban development that have decimated so many runs in the Lower 48," said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited Alaska.
A 2011 Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program study joins a growing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the healthiest, most diverse salmon and trout populations utilize entire watersheds during their critical spawning and rearing life stages. Mason Bryant, Ph.D., retired U.S. Forest Service research fishery biologist, compiled an 88-page searchable bibliography for TU AK that includes a complete citation and abstract for each of the studies he reviewed that examine how Pacific salmon and trout depend on various aspects of whole watersheds. Bryant concludes conserving intact, fully functioning watersheds-entire drainages that stretch from ridge top to ridge top and from river headwaters to river mouths-is the best way to preserve the habitat diversity and natural processes so critical to salmon and trout.
Ninety-six percent of Alaskans surveyed in 2011 said salmon are essential to their way of life, and 97 percent said salmon are an important part of the Alaskan economy. Even in tough economic times, 89 percent of respondents said it is important to maintain funding for salmon conservation. Read more about The Nature Conservancy’s poll  and check out a published story .