Tyonek Tribal Conservation District leads environmental effort
This August, fishing in Tyonek and Beluga, Alaska, was more than just a fun way to spend some time outdoors. Participants in the 2015 Tyonek Tribal Conservation District (TTCD) Summer Pike Derby fished for pike as part of an effort to remove the invasive species from area lakes.
“Pike have been in the Tyonek and Beluga area for less than a decade,” says Christy Cincotta, TTCD’s executive director. “These fish are known to be a potential threat to salmon, as they prey upon juvenile salmon. TTCD held community meetings in both Tyonek and Beluga to determine priority threats to the watershed, and in each community, pike ranked high on the list.”
The Derby was part of a larger effort to restore, enhance and protect freshwater systems from Nikolai Creek to Beluga River on the west side of Cook Inlet.
In addition to catching fish, participants of the Summer Pike Derby provided valuable information for other TTCD environmental projects. “This information will help TTCD to plan and coordinate future conservation efforts to address invasive pike in West Cook Inlet,” Cincotta says.
Throughout the month, 18 participants caught pike in Threemile, Chuit and Second Lakes. Altogether, participants removed 79 pike from the bodies of water. Awards were given for the largest, smallest and most pike caught. CIRI donated a Kenai Fjords Tours package for two and a $500 cash prize, the latter won by youth participant Rocky Standifer.
Says Cincotta, “The exciting prizes offered by CIRI and other donors in our summer derby were a great incentive and wonderful way to reward community members for getting out and doing their part to address a threat to their watershed.”