Salmon Blitz Overview

salmon blitz volunteers-CHSSalmon Blitz was developed in 2013 to engage citizen scientists in documenting salmon habitat in the Copper River watershed.  Volunteers assist in the field and collect the data necessary to nominate stream and lake habitat for listing in the State of Alaska’s Anadromous Waters Catalog.  This catalog is the tool used by Alaska Department of Fish and Game to track all known bodies of water used by salmon, trout, and other anadromous species for spawning, migrating and rearing. Currently not all streams are documented, creating an opportunity for local volunteers to have fun in the field, learn about local fish species and their habitat, and contribute valuable data to support management of these culturally and economically valuable natural resources.

What does Anadromous mean?

Salmon Blitz volunteerSalmon and trout are known as anadromous fish, which means they migrate from saltwater to spawn in freshwater.  After fry emerge from the gravel in the spring, they “rear” in freshwater lakes, streams and ponds for 1-3 years, migrating between different habitats to forage and seek shelter.

Eventually they migrate into the ocean to eat and grow larger before returning to their home freshwater system to spawn and continue the complex life cycle into the future.

Ensuring migration corridors remain unobstructed and suitable fresh and salt water habitat are available for feeding, growing and spawning are essential for supporting healthy populations of salmon.

What is the Anadromous Waters Catalog?

coho2The Alaska Department of Fish & Game uses the Anadromous Waters Catalog to track all known bodies of water used by salmon, trout, and other species for spawning, migrating, and rearing.  Habitats listed in this catalog receive extra protection in the face of future development and pollution and help resource managers see the bigger picture of where vital salmon habitat is located.

Of the 35,600 miles of streams and rivers in the Copper River watershed, the Anadromous Waters Catalog identifies 2,168 miles (only 6%) as supporting salmon and/or trout.  Currently Alaska Department of Fish & Game estimates that statewide, 50% of salmon habitat is not currently listed in the catalog, creating the opportunity for Salmon Blitz volunteers to help out!

Screenshot of Anadromous Waters Catalog


Visit the State of Alaska’s website to learn more more about the Anadromous Waters Catalog and see what streams near you might need to be nominated:

Salmon Blitz Partners & Sponsors

  • Alaska Department of Fish & Game
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
  • Native Village of Eyak
  • North Pacific Research Board
  • Prince William Sound Science Center
  • University of Alaska, Southeast
  • U.S. Forest Service, Cordova Ranger District & Pacific Northwest Research Station
  • Wells Fargo
  • Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment
  • Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve