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To celebrate the 25th birthday of KWF this year, on the 25th of each month we will share thoughts and memories from founding, former and current board members and staff as well as from partners we have worked with over the past 25 years. 
Amber Kraxberger-Linson
Stream Watch Volunteer Coordinator for the Chugach National Forest & Stream Watch Liaison for the KWF

The Stream Watch program has recently won the National Forest Service award for Enduring Service for its amazing 28 years of outstanding volunteer service. I consider myself lucky to be a part of an amazing legacy on the Kenai Peninsula protecting the watershed.

As someone who was born and raised in the Soldotna area, helping to ensure the health of the river habitat and strong salmon returns is a duty that I take seriously. Working with the Kenai Watershed Forum has been a great asset to the Russian River confluence area. Every season, an average of 150,000 anglers come to the Russian River to fish for Sockeye, Coho, and trout. That’s a lot of visitors, and we simply could not make as many contacts, promote stewardship days, and provide valuable volunteer orientations without the help of the Kenai Watershed Forum.

The cooperation between the Chugach National Forest and the KWF helps ensure healthy habitat from Kenai Lake down to the mouth of the Kenai River with efforts like cleaning debris and monofilament from the riverbanks and installing protective habitat fencing. Working alongside our wonderful Stream Watch Volunteers, who dedicate 24 hours of service (or more) each season to help inform visitors of regulations along the river, fix fencing, and pick up trash, is an extremely rewarding experience. Many hands make light work, and the partnership with the Kenai Watershed Forum makes for many fun days on the river as well.

Congratulations on 25 years of service on the Kenai!
End of 2021 Season Group Photo with Amber and Staff

KWF’s Stream Watch Coordinator, Brandon Drzazgowski, adds his thoughts regarding Stream Watch:

The Stream Watch program aims to continue a mentality of good stewardship, based on the understanding that we need to care for our natural resources in order to continue enjoying them. Stream Watch works to do so through its volunteer base. This year, Stream Watch is working on integrating more volunteer appreciation into our programs, hoping to let our volunteers know that we value their time and dedication. For instance, we are awarding gift cards at Trashercise Tuesday to the volunteer who collects the most cigarette butts in the allotted two hours. We have our trained ambassadors doing patrols at our usual sites, and have added a dipnet informational booth at the Kasilof River, similar to the existing Kenai River dipnet fishery booth. New signage and monofilament collection stations have also been installed at the Kasilof River. 

This year we are also working to expand the Stream Watch Volunteer program into younger age groups. In the program’s history, youth engagement has been limited to a small number of single-day events and ambassadors are required to be 18 or older to participate. This summer we are hosting the high school student-oriented Global Leadership Adventures (GLA) organization for two days, and are conducting a stewardship day with Apogee Adventures for the first time.

With a generous grant from ConocoPhillips Alaska, over the next year Stream Watch will be expanding to include a new Junior Ambassador program for 6-12th graders. The Junior Ambassador program will aim to strengthen environmental awareness and education in our future leaders, and promote community voluntarism.

Stream Watch Ambassadors at a beach volunteer station
Anniversary donations can be mailed to: 
44129 Sterling Hwy, Soldotna, AK  99669
or donate online:
Celebrate 25 Years with a donation!
Do you want to support this work?
A tax-deductible gift to Kenai Watershed Forum is a great way to support the local community and the health of rivers systems throughout the Kenai Peninsula. Thank you for your support! 
Donate to Kenai Watershed Forum
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