KENAI (AP) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded several grants to Alaska organizations to help protect young salmon from threats like roads, habitat destruction and even other fish.
The grants -- totaling about $200,000 -- were awarded as part of the federal agency's Alaska Region Coastal Conservation Grants Program. The money will go to government and nongovernment agencies in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska.
The Kenai Watershed Forum plans to use the funds to help young salmon pass through a culvert in Silver Salmon Creek more easily. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game intends to use the money to fund a program to remove northern pike from the Soldotna Creek drainage.
The Kachemak Heritage Land Trust plans to use the money mainly to obtain conservation easements and expand existing programs. According to director Barbara Seaman, the group will use the funds to further its mission of protecting wild areas on the peninsula, with the support of landowners.
''We work with willing landowners to preserve natural areas. It's a good thing for the future of the peninsula,'' Seaman told the Peninsula Clarion.
She said once the group obtains a conservation easement, it must then monitor the area to make sure it remains in its natural state. She said landowners reserve the right to develop their property, as long as it doesn't interfere with the easement.
Since the Alaska Region Coastal Program began in 2000, it has awarded more than $500,000 in grant money to organizations that identify, restore and protect coastal ecosystems in Alaska.
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