The Subsistence Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has compiled data gathered from residents of the Talkeetna, Trapper Creek, and Chase communities on the harvest and use of wild resources. The Division is now preparing a report that will likely be released in November, and presented the draft of the results to Talkeetna residents on Wednesday evening.
The subsistence data centers around what resources residents are harvesting, and where they are doing it. While much of that harvest happens close to home, it also includes hunting, fishing, and gathering by area residents throughout the state, such as caribou, razor clams, and Kenai salmon.
The surveys will provide the first comprehensive set of harvest data since 1985. This round of studies was funded by the Alaska Energy Authority, and the data could be used for studies related to the Susitna-Watana Hydro Project. Subsistence staff say that, from their perspective, this was just like any other subsistence survey.
The survey sampled just over twenty-seven percent of the residents in Talkeetna, and found that overall resource use has not changed much over three decades. The data shows that, in 2012, over 96% of households used some form of wild food source, and the average per-capita use of wild meat, berries, and plants was about fifty-three pounds. In 1985, the per-capita use was fifty-five pounds. The top three resources harvested by Talkeetna residents in terms pounds of food were Sockeye Salmon, Coho Salmon, and caribou. Blueberries topped the list of plant harvests, with 3,643 pounds. In addition to food products, it is estimated that Talkeetna harvested over 1,200 cords of firewood in 2012.
Along with the statistics, the surveys also listed a number of concerns by Talkeetna residents including declining Chinook Salmon runs, declining moose population, Fish and Game permitting, and a number of subsistence concerns surrounding the Susitna-Watana Dam.
The final report is still being revised, and the Division of Subsistence says it could be available to the public in November on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.