The majority of program work supports water-related activities such as monitoring water quality and quantity, instream flow studies, climate and snowpack monitoring, cooperative watershed projects, and protecting/restoring water quality and water habitats.
The BLM manages six Wild & Scenic River corridors, as well as other high-value river systems, in Alaska. Obtaining instream water rights for these rivers to support recreation, fish and wildlife continues to be a high program priority and workload.
Instream Flow Water Rights for BLM in Alaska
The purpose of an instream flow reservation is to preserve the flows necessary to: protect fish and wildlife habitat, migration, and propagation; maintain high-quality recreational opportunities; and protect water quality. In addition, adequate streamflows will help maintain ecological functions and processes necessary to protect the values which caused the river to be included in the National Wild and Scenic River System.
BLM has completed the filing of instream flow applications to the State of Alaska on five Wild and Scenic Rivers including Beaver Creek, Birch Creek, the Gulkana River, the Unalakleet, and the mainstem Fortymile River. An application for the North Fork Fortymile River was submitted in 2007. Field documentation for similar filings on the Delta River are underway. An instream flow Certificate of Reservation was obtained from the State of Alaska for Beaver Creek on May 26, 1989. No other reservations have been obtained from the State of Alaska since.
Field documentation of stream flow is also being collected on other important rivers under BLM management in preparation for filing instream flow reservations with the State of Alaska. These rivers include the Tozitna, Clear Creek, Kanuti, and the South Fork Koyukuk. Data collection has been completed for the Anvik River and Jim River, and instream flow applications will be submitted to the State of Alaska for these rivers in 2007.