A couple of volunteers hoping the cake doesn't taste like the fish painted on it.
As the Kenai Watershed Forum comes up on their 10th anniversary this winter Executive Director Robert Ruffner is impressed by the growth his grass roots organization has achieved, “Things have grown like gangbusters since the beginning of the organization and this time of year is always fun for me because in order to prepare for our volunteer appreciation party I have to review the photos of the summer activities that my staff takes. This year it was a true joy to see all the activities that went on that I didn’t even know about, with seven staff members I just can’t keep up with what everyone is doing, so it was a real pleasure to review all the good stuff that not only the staff but all our volunteers have been doing,” Ruffner told those who gathered at the Kenai River Center for the annual appreciation picnic.
KWF volunteers gather at the Kenai River Center for a picnic and overview of 2006 programs.
Over the last decade the Kenai Watershed Forum (KWF) has become well known for several signature events and programs such as the spring Kenai River Festival and “hot topic” forums held every couple of months. Last year KWF announced an ambitious summer schedule for 2006 to correct hanging culverts which they identified as a significant problem to future generations of spawning salmon, “I’m happy to announce that we nailed it, with the help of some good contractors that did a great job for us we met our schedule up in Cooper Landing and have successfully reopened several miles of stream habitat that had been closed off by the hanging culverts. We have a long way to go as we estimate some 140 miles of stream habitat is limited in some way because of culverts and now we’re at the drawing board already doing the engineering for the next culverts that are on our list,” said Ruffner.
A Cake Made for the KWF Volunteers.
KWF has also increased their education outreach program, “With our two new education specialists our capacity to do programs has increased so we are in a school or out at a creek every day this month,” said Ruffner. The education outreach program includes a 30 page booklet that focuses on living and playing in the Kenai Watershed, a Living with Bears informational pamphlet, dozens of field trips, assistance to neighborhood groups concerned about their backyard stream, and the publication of the KWF quarterly newsletters “Currents.” From its inception KWF has been concerned with the water quality of our rivers and streams, “Every year we train dozens of volunteers to monitor area streams. These volunteers have been successful in identifying and removing some of the pollutants that were running directly onto salmon spawning and rearing grounds,” reported Ruffner.
KWF volunteers gather at the Kenai River Center.
For more information on the goals and achievements of the Kenai Watershed Forum, to see their complete schedule of events, or to volunteer to assist the community based organization you may go to www.kenaiwatershed.org , stop by their offices in the Blazy Mall in Soldotna or call 260-5449.
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