Salmon and agriculture are two of Alaska’s most important renewable resources. Alaska’s agricultural sectors are growing faster than any other state in the nation. With the formation of both the Alaska Grown Caucus in the Alaska Legislature and the announcement by the Governor of the Food Security & Independence Task Force, farming is poised to take a central role in strengthening our food system. As agricultural development increases though, it is vital that this emerging farming economy does not lead to negative impacts on our healthy salmon habitat and water quality.
To help get ahead of potential issues, Cook Inletkeeper is building an Alaska-focused Salmon-Safe Agriculture project. Early this winter, we launched a Cook Inlet Watershed Farmers Working Group to examine and discuss Salmon-Safe agricultural practices. Salmon-Safe Inc., based in the Pacific Northwest, works with farmers, developers, and other environmentally-innovative landowners to reduce watershed impacts through a third-party verified certification program. While certification is not currently our goal, developing an Alaskan land and water ethic that protects our salmon while feeding our communities is. This group of farmers throughout the watershed is providing valuable, first-hand knowledge and experience of farming on a salmon landscape.
This project is a proactive effort to develop and promote agricultural principles which will ensure locally grown food and wild salmon are abundant for all Alaskans. Stay tuned as this group of place-based farmers and agricultural professionals help guide the next steps in crafting Alaskan Salmon-Safe initiatives.