Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - A crew from the Juneau International Airport is replacing two pedestrian bridges over Jordan Creek this week with materials purchased by the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition.
The new bridges are part of a broad partnership to foster public stewardship of Jordan Creek, a salmon stream located in the heart of the Mendenhall Valley.
“The footbridges are used by people traveling between the airport and residential and business areas near the Nugget Mall,” said Patty Wahto, airport manager. “We want the greenbelt to be a safe and enjoyable open space for the public.”
The Juneau International Airport and Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition will receive some volunteer help in their efforts from local landowners, the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, the Tongass Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Discovery Southeast to steward an 8-acre greenbelt just north of the airport that is surrounded by dense urban development.
Together, these partners will restore 5.5 acres by eradicating invasive plants, planting trees and shrubs, decommission an obsolete trail that damages riparian habitat, improve water quality by relocating snow storage areas outside the greenbelt, enhance public use, safety, and enjoyment of the area through regular patrolling, trail and footbridge upgrades, and the installation of benches, trash cans, and signage, keep the area litter free through regular patrols of the area by volunteers from the nearby Society of St. Vincent De Paul housing facility, and use the greenbelt as an outdoor classroom to teach local youth about urban streams and what we can do to improve these areas for fish, wildlife, and people.
“Jordan Creek used to be one of the most productive streams in the Juneau area for coho salmon.” said John Hudson, restoration biologist with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition. “But over time, urbanization in the lower reaches of Jordan Creek has taken its toll. The stream is now listed as “impaired” by the Department of Environmental Conservation and there are public safety concerns in certain areas.”
“Stewarding this site will take more than actions to improve habitat and recreation,” explained Hudson. “Stewardship here means connecting the people of Juneau to the streams that flow through their backyards and building a community around our local watersheds.”
The Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition will be leading a crew of volunteers to clean up garbage along Jordan Creek as part of the annual city-wide clean-up on Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Duck Creek Market to pick up trash bags and join the clean-up crew.