THE SUSITNA WATERSHED
The Focus of Our Efforts
THE FALSE PROMISE OF CLEAN POWER
Large-scale hydropower is NOT Alaska’s climate solution. In an era of dam removal, the Susitna-Watana Hydropower project defies modern clean energy trends. Supporters of the project, promise long-term renewable energy for railbelt communities. However, mega-hydro is not clean, renewable energy. In addition to harming critical fish and wildlife habitat and local economies, large-scale hydropower dams contribute to climate change.
THE SUSITNA-WATANA DAM
The Susitna Dam, if built, would become the 2nd tallest dam in the United States and would pose significant harmful impacts to the Susitna River’s five species of salmon, caribou migration routes, and tourism- and fish-based businesses. The massive structure would be taller than the Hoover Dam and three times taller than any other dam in Alaska. In an era when dams across the country are being removed, building a new dam of this size and scale is questionable both from an economic and ecological standpoint.
The Susitna River watershed is fed by the glaciers in the high and rugged peaks of the Alaska Range. Encompassing some of Alaska’s most visited areas, it provides the backbone of rich fishing, hunting, tourism and recreational economies. It is the heart of Alaska: great mountains, deep forests, open tundra, and communities rich with culture and history, and heavily reliant on subsistence resources.
The Susitna River supports all five species of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), including globally significant populations of king and sockeye salmon (O. tshawytscha and O. nerka). Though known to be strong, the Sustina River’s salmon populations are surprisingly unquantified. Less than half of all of Alaska’s streams have been evaluated for salmon presence or abundance and the Susitna is no exception.
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