Return to Us: A good story, well told

Published 12/17/2020  |  Trout Unlimited


If you need a pick-me-up, this is it.

It is with great excitement that we share the short film, “Return to Us: Restoring Alaska’s Eklutna River,” with you. As of today, it is available free of charge online for all to enjoy.

Return to Us chronicles the historic effort spearheaded by Eklutna, Inc. and The Conservation Fund to remove the abandoned Lower Eklutna Dam and kickstart the return of diminished salmon runs to the river in Southcentral Alaska, near Anchorage.

The low-down on Eklutna

As chronicled in the film, the abandoned lower dam that blocked salmon migration for nearly a century has been successfully removed. However, an upper diversion dam associated with the Eklutna Hydropower Project remains. This upper dam diverts all downstream flow, blocks fish migration and hinders use of the recently reconnected habitat. Right now, the legally required mitigation process that will help make up for project’s impact to fish and wildlife is underway.

Currently, the owners of the Eklutna Hydropower Project are finalizing their year one study plans, which will require approval by the governor. The findings of this study will help shape and inform the outcome of the mitigation process.

Since the removal of the dam, Southcentral Alaskans have demonstrated sweeping support for returning appropriate flows to the river for fish and allowing fish passage around the upper dam so that salmon can make a full recovery. This will benefit of the native village of Eklutna, and all Alaskans.

A healthy, fully functioning future is possible for the Eklutna River, and it’s up to us to help make it happen.

You have questions, we have answers

As you watch, note your question and shoot them over to Eric Booton. He’ll answer everyone’s questions on Trout Unlimited Alaska’s Facebook live on Monday, Dec. 21, at 4 p.m. Alaska Time, 8 p.m. Eastern. The live broadcast will remain available for viewing if you cannot attend at that time.

Southcentral Alaska’s Eklutna River before and after 2018 dam removal.

After you watch, please take our pledge to show your support for a healthy, fish-filled Eklutna River. Take the pledge here to help make our vision for the river a reality.

Oh, and we would appreciate if you could take a moment to share this flick with your fish-loving friends. It’s a great, feel-good story that’s told well.

Looking forward to digging into this exciting project with you.


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