Now in its 20th year Stream Watch, founded in 1994 by the Chugach National Forest and a group of concerned citizens, is an award winning volunteer program that promotes river stewardship on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. According to Lisa Beranek, Stream Watch coordinator for the last three years at the Kenai Watershed Forum; dedicated volunteers receive all of the training and supplies, including volunteer campsites, to share information on fishing regulations, bear safety and river protection while completing river stewardship projects on the Kasilof, Kenai and Russian Rivers. “In addition to local anglers, hundreds of thousands of people come to the Kenai Peninsula to enjoy some of the best trout and salmon fishing on the planet. The impacts of this can be many, so we are dedicated to help Kenai Peninsula Rivers by mitigating those impacts to keep the great outdoors great. The program has grown from 14 in the beginning to over 70 trained volunteers last year who donate their time to go out throughout the summer to share educational information on the river and do hands on projects such as river clean up and revetments that create fish habitat,” said Beranek.
The variety of Stream Watch activities says Beranek gives people of different interests way to contribute to helping the rivers, “If you like to meet and talk with people that can be very effective, but if you’re more interested in more physical outdoor interaction on the river then the clean up or erosion control project might be for you. We have week day and weekend scheduled activities to fit just about anyone’s schedule daytime or evening as well,” she said. There will be volunteer orientations coming up May 31st and June 28th “Space is limited for the training sessions that include everything from effective outreach to bear safety, swift water awareness and a variety of other topics so now is a good time to plan summer activities including registering for Stream Watch,” said Beranek. To learn more about how you can make a difference by becoming a Stream Watch Steward, Ambassador, or for an internship opportunity go on line to StreamWatch@kenaiwatershed.org or call Lisa Beranek at the Kenai Watershed Forum at 260-5449.