Few places remain in this world that have not been touched by human hands. The Ichupak River is part of the Fish River tributary system of the Golovin Bay Watershed. The Ichupak River Project is a comprehensive study of this pristine waterway.
This study includes fish documentation of anadromous and non-anadromous fish in the waterways, focusing on the extent and overall reach of anadromous fish. Several additions and changes have already been made to the Anadromous Catalog in 2012 and 2013, including extending the anadromous zone by several miles as well as the identification of rearing Coho and Chinook salmon as well as Dolly Varden in portions of the river-system that had previously been unidentified.
Two gauging stations have been established that continuously track air and water temperature as well as changes in the river depth. Dedicated field teams regularly take measurements of the flow of the river which allows us to calculate the total flow of the river in cubic-feet per second. Combining this data allows us to track the total flow and output of the river system over the entire year. This then helps determine required minimum flows necessary to sustain aquatic life. Water quality samples are also being collected near the mouth of the river as well as nearly 17 miles upriver where the North Fork ties to the main river channel. Together all of this data helps paint a picture of how things are now, so that in the future we will have a basis to see how things might have changed and will help mitigate potential negative impact.
The Native Village of White Mountain is grateful for those entities that have partnered with us. Funding for these projects has come from various sources including the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation as well as grants through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (GAP), and the Administrative for Native Americans (ANA). Work began in earnest in 2011. Our goal is to compile a minimum of five years of research data as well as to complete the mapping of the anadromous waters within the Ichupak river basin.
Jeffery Kowchee coordinates and manages funds through BIA, NFWF and NSEDC and is assisted by Henry Titus.