Alaska Success Stories
Alaska Native Success Stories
Growing Partnerships with Alaska Native Producers
There's no doubt that Alaska is BIG. It's the largest state in the nation with 375 million acres of land. It’s larger than Texas, Montana and California combined! But who owns all of that land?
Roughly 86 percent of Alaska's land is in public ownership (federal and state), and more than 13 percent is private land owned and managed by Alaska Natives. Those native lands span more than 44 million acres, or more than 70,000 square miles. Land in private ownership (other than Alaska Native land) comprises less than one percent of the total land in Alaska.
Alaska also has more Native American tribes than any other state in the nation. There are 229 Federally recognized tribes in Alaska, which is 40 percent of all recognized tribes in the United States.
RCPP Success Story - Hoonah Native Forest Partnership
Generations of Alaska Native people have thrived upon the land and all that it supports: clean water, fresh air, abundant fish and game, and plants that provide sustenance, medicine, and building materials. A common cultural thread weaves Alaskans together in this enormous state: Alaskans are hunters, harvesters, gatherers, and fishers.
In the remote village of Hoonah, located near the capital of Juneau in Southeast Alaska, the Huna Tlingit people and local residents have cultural roots that are deeply entwined in the land and waters surrounding their community.
Recognizing the importance of protecting, conserving and maintaining the stream and forest habitats that are so integral to the Hoonah way of life, the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership (HNFP) was formed in 2015.
Beginning Farmer Success Stories
Conservation Helps Alaska's Niche Peony Market Bloom
Peonies have a special place in Alaska agriculture. Our long summer days under the midnight sun and a late growing season allow for harvest in July and August; a time when most other peony farms in the world have already finished their harvests for the year.
"Alaska has a niche market for peonies because we are the last to harvest them in North America; we fill a gap in production of fresh cut peonies to create a year round market for this favorite feature flower," said Allison Gaylord, peony farmer, founding member and Board Chair of the Alaska Beauty Peony Co-op in Homer, Alaska.
Conservation on Tap at Denali Brewing Company
Denali Brewing is a popular craft brewery and restaurant in Talkeetna, Alaska, about 100 miles north of Anchorage flanked by stunning views of the Talkeetna mountain range. The brewery is named for Mount Denali (20,310 feet), the highest peak in North America.
Owners and operators Sassan and Kristy Mossanen are stewards of the land and they work tirelessly to reduce and reuse all forms of waste generated at the brewery. Sustainability and conservation are core values to them, and they live by those values when making business decisions.
Food Security Success Stories
Pandemic Spurs Community Supported Agriculture in Seldovia, Alaska
Rosanna McInnes never really considered herself a farmer…until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Prior to 2020, she was just another gardener, growing flowers and vegetables in her backyard to feed her family. But the pandemic caused delays in food supply chains, especially in rural villages off the road system, like Rosanna’s hometown of Seldovia, Alaska.
Seldovia is 25 miles away from the popular fishing town of Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. It’s only accessible by plane or boat. The year-round population is 277 people according to the 2020 Census, but the seasonal population ranges from 1,000 to 2,000 during the summer tourism season.
Watershed Programs Success Stories
Relocating Homes in Kwethluk and Akiak
EWP relieves imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, heavy rains, and other natural occurrences.
In Alaska, Tribal governments are often the primary local sponsors requesting federal assistance through EWP. In 2020, NRCS provided EWP assistance to two Federally-recognized Tribes in rural Alaska to relocate homes threatened by rapid riverbank erosion.
The Akiak Native Community and the Organized Village of Kwethluk requested and received EWP assistance to relocate 11 homes. Both villages are located on the lower Kuskokwim River, the longest free-flowing river in the United States.
Relocating Homes in Huslia
Ice Roads and Ice Jams in Galena
City of Valdez - EWP at the End of the Road
Responding to a Glacial Outburst Flood in Seward
Soil Health Success Stories
Delta Junction Farmers Explore Soil Health
Local farmers and natural resource professionals gathered at the Alaska Flour Company to learn about regenerative agricultural practices that build healthier, more resilient soils during the Third Annual Soil Health Field Day, hosted by the Salcha-Delta Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
Bryce Wrigley, owner and operator of Wrigley Farm and the Alaska Flour Company, hosted the event on his farm and shared his personal experience with using no-till and cover crops on his barley operation. Wrigley is also the district manager of the Salcha-Delta Soil and Water Conservation and has served in that role since 2004.
This year’s event featured guest speaker Jay Fuhrer, a world-renowned expert in soil health management practices from Bismarck, North Dakota. Fuhrer is a retired soil health specialist from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with 40 years of experience working with cropping systems, grazing systems, cover crops and gardens. He works on the Menoken Farm, a 150-acre demonstration farm east of Bismarck owned and operated by the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District.
Alaska Flour Company Builds Healthy Soils and Food Security
Alaskan farmer Bryce Wrigley is not just a barley farmer; he’s a zookeeper. His zoo consists of billions of living things that are invisible to the naked eye. He feeds them, nurtures them, and ensures they are healthy and productive.
Can you guess what they are? Soil microorganisms!
In just one teaspoon of healthy soil, there are more than six billion living things such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, earthworms and arthropods. These tiny critters make up the soil food web, and their transactional relationships with one another directly affect the health and productivity one of humankind’s most precious resources: soil.
Alaska Farmers on a Quest for Healthy Soils
The State of Alaska Plant Materials Center (PMC) partnered with NRCS to lead a large-scale, minimum 5-year trial. Within the first year of the trial, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) came to the table with interest in doing similar trials with local farmers. The primary purpose of the PMC trial is to show the effects of cover crops on soil properties and validate the benefits of soil health between rotations in a commodity crop harvest.