Letter: Why is the Chuitna River important?

The Chuitna River produces salmon and trout, among other things. For one setnet fisherman, this question is easy to answer. In 2015, he landed more than 35,000 lbs of salmon from the mouth of the river. Other setnetters also intercept salmon that originated from the Chuitna River.

The river supports spawning populations of all five species of pacific salmon. These fish contribute to the great diversity of our population portfolio of wild salmon. Juvenile salmon use different parts of the entire watershed. These small salmon migrate to the ocean to feed and grow and store nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in their bodies.

After they return, spawn and die, the nutrients are returned to the food chain. Dissolved nutrients are carried by the current and the groundwater. Roots of riparian vegetation capture the groundwater and transmits it to the leaves.

The Chuitna River — and all salmon spawning streams — are important to help maintain our strong and diverse wild salmon populations.

Bill Hauser,