Alaska Monitoring and Assessment Program 2009 Yukon River

In July 2009, we sampled a total of 50 water quality and 550 physical habitat sites in an effort to characterize the condition of the Yukon River main stem. Our survey was designed to describe condition over a large geographic area and should not be used to characterize individual sites. Overall we found the results were consistent with natural variability and expected conditions throughout the reach. Results from water quality, sediment, and biological parameters sampled indicate naturally high water quality conditions, inherently unstable substrates, high suspended sediment loads, and sufficient nutrient levels to support biology.

This was a collaborative effort involving the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the University of Alaska Anchorage- Alaska Natural Heritage Program.

The collaboration between partners in this survey was crucial to our success. Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council and the Council of Athabascan Governments knowledge of the river and surrounding communities were critical to this survey. Data gathered from this survey are available to governmental agencies, Native and Tribal organizations, general public, and other researchers. DEC utilizes data gathered on a large scale to help better understand the overall condition of Alaska's water quality. This allows DEC and other resource managers to: report on the overall condition of Alaskan waters, a responsibility of the Clean Water Act; and use the information to make good decisions about our laws and regulations that protect the Nation's most pristine water resources.