JWP, SAWC awarded ACWA Grant!

The Juneau Watershed Partnership (JWP) in cooperation with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition (SAWC) was awarded a two-year grant through the Alaska Clean Waters Actions (ACWA) Grant Program administered through the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to monitor the Nancy Street wetland on Duck Creek in Juneau. The purpose of the monitoring is to collect water quality data to evaluate the effectiveness of the wetland in improving water quality conditions on Duck Creek. The first year of the project was funded at $9,997.

The project officially starts July 1, but water quality monitoring is not anticipated to begin until spring 2017. Prior to beginning monitoring, the JWP will work with the DEC to develop a monitoring plan and quality assurance project plan, which will ensure the integrity of our methodology and monitoring data.

The JWP and SAWC will be partnering with the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Environmental Sciences Department to collect and analyze the water quality samples by employing an undergraduate student to do much of the work under supervision, allowing them to gain experience. The student will be selected prior to the field season and will be provided a small stipend from the ACWA grant funds. Drs. Eran Hood, Sonia Nagorski, and Lisa Hoferkamp have generously donated their time and use of UAS equipment and laboratory space as part of the required grant match to accomplish this project.

This project addresses an ACWA Restoration priority. Since 1994, Duck Creek has been listed as an impaired waterbody by the DEC. In order to improve conditions, many restoration projects have been completed along Duck Creek including culvert replacement, streambank stabilizations, revegetation projects, and creation of wetlands. The Nancy Street wetland was one such project.

The Nancy Street wetland was once a gravel extraction pond, which resulted from gravel extraction from the area in the 1950s and 60s to support development of the Mendenhall Valley. In the late 1990s, the Nancy Street pond and other gravel extraction ponds (the Church of the Nazarene, Alison, and Forest Service ponds) were noted to have enhancement potential in the Juneau Wetlands Management Plan, making them a focal point for restoration efforts.

The Church of the Nazarene pond was converted into a wetland in 1998 and the Nancy Street pond followed in 2006. However, like many restoration projects throughout Juneau, little to no water quality monitoring tracked the success of the restoration of these gravel ponds. Water quality monitoring is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the Nancy Street Wetland restoration efforts.

Fortunately, water quality data was collected in 2005 and 2006 by UAS at the outflow of the Nancy Street pond prior to its conversion into wetland. The same outflow site will be monitored during this project, allowing comparison of data before and after the restoration efforts. This will better inform the evaluation of the Nancy Street wetland.

The JWP will be providing more information about the monitoring efforts and the Nancy Street wetland as the project progresses.