Wildlife “Out the Road”

This is a report from Richard Carstensen  to the Southeast Alaska Land Trust on habitats and wildlife use of glacially-rebounding valleys from 25 to 28-mile Glacier Highway in Juneau. They call this area “risen valleys,” and in the report you can trace animal use and habitat descriptions for this remarkable portion of Southeast Alaska. This report contains extensive habitat descriptions, photographs, and animal descriptions.

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Description

From the Introduction:

Eagle River, 24 to 29 miles north of Juneau Alaska, is geologically and biologically unique. For the past year I’ve pondered this uniqueness during field studies of the area’s remarkable valley-bottom wildlife habitats. The conifer forests of the upland slopes are important to wildlife, but the region’s vertebrate “hotspots” are concentrated in the interlinked bottomlands: the lovely parkland of lower Peterson Creek; the bear’s “salad bowl” north of SAGA lodge; the inhabited fen matrix from 25 to 26 mile; the complex interior mosaic at the confluence of Herbert and Eagle Rivers; and the protruding deltaic salt marsh fronting the most spectacular Boy Scout property in North America.

What all of these otherwise-diverse bottomlands hold in common is glacial rebound – the rising of the land in response to reduced weight of glaciers. All of the above connected valleys were intertidal only a few centuries ago, and the subsequent “post uplift succession” explains a great deal about their high value to wildlife. I’ve come to think of the Amalga/Eagle area as the Risen Valleys. The legacy of glacial rebound on wildlife habitats is emphasized throughout this report.