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Alaska State Technical Committee Meeting Notes May 2013

Alaska State Technical Committee Meeting Notes

May 29, 2013

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
State Technical Committee Meeting

For electronic or hard copy presentations from this meeting contact State Resource Conservationist Helen Denniston at (907) 761-7756 or

Welcome and Introduction: Helen Denniston, State Resource Conservationist

Self-introductions around the table


Molly Voeller, State Public Affairs Officer-State Reorganization

Formerly-small field offices

North/South HUB concept- reasoning being that there is less funding and fewer staff members. We will still plan to physically get to the sites. 

Helen - We are committed to maintaining POC’s and utilizing current office spaces in certain areas.

We feel that it is important to have a local place for people to come to; and maintain good coverage.

One cost saving method is to travel to specific sites as long as budget allows.

Helen mentioned that she appreciates the maps.


Keith Griswold, Conservationist in Northern Hub, Wasilla Area: EQIP NWQI (new program)

Introduced himself as the Wasilla Resource Conservationist

Concept of �initiatives’-high tunnels; energy audits; NWQI-new watersheds selected for this year.

Alaska received $157,000 for NWQI

EPA lists water bodies selected for ecoli in the system�ANC bowl and Cottonwood watersheds include: Anchorage; Eklutna River; Peters Creek; Eagle River; Ship Creek; Campbell Creek;  Rabbit Creek; Bird Creek; Indian Creek  Gacier; Twenty Mile

Fixing pollutants that get into streams   

Only work on agricultural systems   

Ag Operations:  subsistence, producing food; animals

Subsistence for tribes  

Site specific- implementation with conservation practices

Helen - NWQI�working with ANC muni; many rivers/creeks do have contamination ; partners have been very helpful; target groups we are trying to reach


Angela Peter: Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance (ATCA) Executive Director

Started out as president of Tyonek Tribal Conservation District and held form Tyonek Tribal Conservation District (TTCD)

Has been on the board for four years.

Was hired by Alliance last year

Subsistence user; commercial angler; hunter; 

Intertribal Ag Council-was being attended by Tyonek members; but that group was geared toward livestock, corn , wheat-not pertaining to Alaskan tribes; there is a difference in definition of agriculture from other states- which presents its own geographic challenges.

NRCS was instrumental in the formation of group- Crystal Leonetti very helpful; currently really glad to be working w/Kristi Harper-definitely makes it easier to conquer the challenges along the way.

We hope to continue to work with Kristi Harper to develop a locally led tribal group for this area.

Motto of ATCA: Healthy Lands, Healthy People

There are six up and coming conservation districts.


Report of current TCD:

TTCD:  Had Moose Habitat Project; Planted a garden; Hugh tunnel; Installed new culverts; formed a management plan;

Kwethluk TCD: had successful high tunnel project; integrated resource management plan

Mt. Village TCD:  trying to market Tundra Tea; spring water; planning

Nunivak TCD: Reindeer herding project; 7 generation planning

Symposium-preserving Alaska’s 27 Tribal communities; 48 participants; dates for this years’ symposium: Aug 27 through 29, 2013.


Future plans of ATCA: 

1) Work with TCD’s on project planning; don’t have long/short term goals to reach the plan; working on funding to travel to villages;

2) Create a manual for Alaska TCD’s;

3) Coordination between USDA/TCS;

4) Continue outreach through Alaska;

5) Strategic planning


Alex and Kelly Strawn- Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) Report 

Thru EQIP, CIGs look at new technologies or adapt technologies; Alex Strawn built high tunnel four years ago; slides of high tunnel construction and adaptations that they’ve found works well;  have also planted a pollinator garden:  Discussion on production/volume/costs


Alaska Plant Materials Center (PMC) –Casey Dinkel & Todd Steinlage

Research/demonstration work and partnership with the PMC; produced the Alaska Forage Manual-completed Nov. 2012

Forage Growth Curve and Nutrient Project - Casey Dinkel

Fungal Endophytes in Alaska - Todd Steinlage

Copies of the Forage Management Plan were offered to participants.


In Attendance:

Theo Garcia, Knik Tribe

Bob Charles, Knik Tribe

Miah Breivogel, Kenny Lake SWCD

Alex and Kelly Strawn, Sunshine Daydream Gardens

Todd Steinlage, Alaska PMC

Erik Johnson, DNR-DAG

Casey L Dinkel, DNR-PMC

Gloria Stickwan AHTNA, Inc.

Bruce Cain, AHTNA

Angela Peter, ATCA


NRCS Staff:

Helen Denniston, State Resource Conservationist

Al White, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs

Molly Voeller, State Public Affairs Officer

Michelle Schuman, Ecologist

Nikki Moffat, Programs Support Assistant


Call-In Attendance:

Brian Kleinhenz, Sealaska