Duck Creek Water Quality and Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration
Duck Creek, a surface water body in Alaska, is impaired by urban runoff from non-point source pollutants including, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, iron flocs and excess nutrients. This small coastal stream originates from a spring that drains runoff from Mendanhall Valley, a relatively high residential and business area. Historically there were runs of nearly 10,000 chum salmon and Coho runs of about 500 fish in Duck Creek. Currently the chum run is extinct and the Coho run consists of only 20 fish. Restoration at Duck Creek involves the development and implementation of bioremediation methods to restore water quality and anadromous fish habitat in impaired streams. NOAA scientists attempted to correct the degraded conditions by using high-pressure jet pumps and suction dredges to remove fine sediment from the streambed. Researchers also added natural structures to direct stream flow and increase oxygen levels. The removal or replacement of perched culverts that impair fish habitat will also take place to reduce flood hazards. This project demonstrates the benefits of restoration and the importance of aquatic habitat protection in maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems.