Alaska sportsmen celebrate victory for the Susitna River

Thu, 06/30/2016
Photo by Travis Rummel
Contact: Sam Snyder, Trout Unlimited, (907) 903-5811
Alaska sportsmen celebrate victory for the Susitna River
Opponents of the Susitna Watana dam proposal celebrate future of free-flowing Susitna River
ANCHORAGE, AK - Today, Alaska’s Governor announced the state is shutting down the Susitna-Watana Dam project. In so doing, Trout Unlimited is celebrating with thousands of Alaskans about the sound future of the free-slowing Susitna River. 
The Susitna River, where the dam was proposed, is North America’s fourth largest undammed river and sustains Alaska’s fourth largest king salmon run. The vast valleys that feed the Susitna River comprise some of one of the state’s most visited areas and world-class angling opportunities. 
“As Trout Unlimited has worked to removed dams that don’t make sense throughout the Pacific Northwest, the State of Alaska had been aggressively pursuing a proposal that would become the 2nd tallest dam in the United States and would pose significant harmful impacts to the Susitna River’s five species of salmon, caribou migration routes, and tourism and fish-based businesses,” said Sam Snyder, Trout Unlimited Alaska Engagement Director and coordinator of the Save the Susitna campaign. “It’s not hard to ascertain why so many joined together to oppose it.”
Working hand in hand with local Talkeetna-based partner, the Susitna River Coalition, Trout Unlimited Alaska has been a critical player in ensuring Alaskans stayed abreast of the changes in this effort over the last five years, and were able to contact elected leaders to make their voices heard when actions were needed most.
“I am elated to stand along side our partners and friends who rely on the Susitna River today, and I'm proud to have helped work toward this victory,” said Snyder. “Thousands of Alaskans have spoken up so that future generations can use and enjoy the Susitna River as we do today – the Governor made the right decision. It’s an immense victory for our salmon, our waters and tens of thousands of Alaskan families.”
Flowing through the stunning mountain valleys of South-central Alaska, hundreds of thousands of wild salmon return each summer to the Susitna and its tributaries to spawn and help sustain Alaska’s strong salmon runs. Thousands of visitors from the Lower 48 and around the world visit the Susitna River to experience its power and beauty. Thousands of commercial fishermen and sport fishing guides rely on the river to provide for their families each year. And on any given day, an angler can be seen wading in one of the Susitna’s many arms to take in a bit of its majesty. 
“We are grateful for everyone who stood beside us and our partners in this effort to save the Susitna,” Snyder said. “Today we’re celebrating with the fishermen, business owners, tourists, and river lovers who, together, will enjoy this river for many years to come.”
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. In Alaska, we work with sportsmen and women to ensure the state’s trout and salmon resources remain healthy far into the future through our local chapters and offices in Anchorage and Juneau. To learn more about our work, follow TU-Alaska on Facebook or visit us online at 

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