Vanderbilt Creek Watershed Recovery and Management Plan - Juneau, Alaska
Vanderbilt Creek and its watershed are valued as productive salmon and wildlife habitat. Beginning in 1950 the watershed and surrounding area have been rapidly developed into a commercial and industrial center. Recently, there has been an increased awareness of industrial impacts on the Vanderbilt Watershed, but only a few reports detail the impact of development on habitat and water quality in Vanderbilt Creek.
When the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation collected baseline water quality data for Vanderbilt and Lemon Creeks in 1993, it was found that Vanderbilt was an impaired system. A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for sediment and debris was approved for Vanderbilt in 1995. The TMDL is a management tool that identifies actions and pollution controls necessary to bring Vanderbilt Creek into compliance with water quality standards.
Most of the mitigation actions outlined in the TMDL, including water quality monitoring, have not been executed to the extent described in the document. Several other stewardship efforts, such as debris removal and volunteer-level monitoring, attended to some of the listed actions, but have not been sufficient in fully recovering habitat values.
The limited information and data collected since the 1995 TMDL, suggests that Vanderbilt Creek is still impaired. However, baseline data is nearly non-existent for this watershed and water quality and biological data remain deficient for quantifying the extent that urban development has affected the watershed’s habitat value.
Little information exists on how natural processes, such as isostatic rebound, could be affecting the watershed. With the recent increased understanding of how isostatic rebound is affecting other watersheds within the Juneau area, it is imperative that this process is considered in planning the recovery of Vanderbilt Creek and other potentially affected watersheds like it.
It is likely that the demand for development within the Vanderbilt Creek Watershed will continue. A comprehensive monitoring plan should be implemented in order to obtain necessary baseline data to ensure the health of the watershed, and potential impacts of anthropogenic and natural processes should be determined. This document identifies and evaluates data and information collected since 1995 to provide an updated management and recovery plan for the Vanderbilt Creek Watershed.
Data and Resources