Eklutna, Inc. permanently conserves lands for Shareholder subsistence hunting, fishing, recreation
Eklutna, Inc Partners with Great Land Trust on 3 Projects that conserves substantial area the size of 1000 football fields.
Photos courtesy of Carl Johnson Photography
December 4th, 2014 – Over 1,000 acres of Eklutna, Inc.-owned land used for subsistence hunting, fishing and berry-picking and containing high-quality salmon habitat and migratory bird habitat is now conserved for future generations of Eklutna people.
Just before Thanksgiving, Great Land Trust and Eklutna, Inc. completed three projects that permanently conserved 1,329 acres of Eklutna, Inc.-owned lands. The lands will remain under Eklutna Inc. ownership and traditional use by Shareholders and public recreation access through permits will continue.
The largest project, located east of Palmer, covers nearly 800 acres in the Jim, Mud and Swan Lake area and is home to excellent wetlands that provide important functions including filtering water, and storm water retention. The project area maintains critical spawning and overwintering habitat for the popular Jim Creek Coho salmon fishery, calving grounds where moose have their young, and rich habitat for wildlife species that make Alaska world-renown, including migratory waterfowl, beaver, swans, moose, bear, and wolves. The region is recognized by the Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area of state significance due to high concentrations of trumpeter swans.
Curtis McQueen, CEO of Eklutna, Inc., stated “We need to balance growth and development of the Valley with land conservation and cultural values. It is an honor to continue to work with Great Land Trust to protect key habitat for our Shareholders and the community, as well as generate revenue.”
The other projects include the “Mink Creek Conservation Project” next to the Glenn Highway near Birchwood and the “Eagle River Greenbelt” near the mouth of the Eklutna River. All three projects were conserved by the sale of a conservation easement, a legal voluntary agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently restricts future development and subdivision on all of these lands.
For each project, Great Land Trust is contributing to a fund that is accessible to Great Land Trust and Eklutna, Inc. for land management purposes. Both Great Land Trust and Eklutna, Inc. hope to hire Shareholders to help manage these unique lands.
These three conservation projects join the Eklutna River Estuary, Fire Creek Estuary, and Knik River Islands, three Eklutna projects conserved by Great Land Trust in 2011. Together, GLT and Eklutna have conserved over 7,400 acres of land and waterways that contribute to Southcentral Alaska’s healthy community and strong economy.
Great Land Trust has been working with willing landowners to conserve wetlands and other important lands and waterways in Southcentral Alaska since 1995. Eklutna, Inc. is the largest private landowner in the region and both organizations anticipate more conservation projects in the future. The projects were made possible through a collaborative effort with partners including The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, CIRI, the Mat-Su Salmon Partnership, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA Fisheries, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Sustainable Salmon Fund.
Wells Fargo Donating 143 Acres of Land in Eklutna to Preserve for Future Generations – June 2014
Protection of land will secure traditional Alaska Native home sites and natural resources sacred to the Dena’ina people
[Eklutna, Alaska, June 5, 2014] – Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is donating 143 acres of land adjacent to the Native Village of Eklutna to The Conservation Fund for permanent land and habitat preservation. The property is located approximately 25 miles northeast of Anchorage, in the heart of Dena’ina Athabascan country where Alaska Native people have lived for thousands of years.
A donation ceremony will take place on June 8 at 2:30 p.m. during the Native Village of Eklutna’s biennial Dena’ina Potlatch celebration in Eklutna. The potlatch also kicks off the National Congress of American Indians mid-year conference slated for June 8-11 in Anchorage.
“We hope families in Eklutna, all Dena’ina people, and all Alaskans enjoy this beautiful land for generations to come,” said Joe Everhart, Wells Fargo Alaska regional president. “This donation is being made to honor the Dena’ina people by returning land that has immeasurable cultural and spiritual value. This donation aligns with Wells Fargo’s goals to be good stewards of the environment and support local communities. We are proud to work with The Conservation Fund and Eklutna, Inc. to protect this land.”
“When we got the word from Joe, we were thrilled and filled with such emotion that it took several days for the news to sink in,” said Curtis McQueen, Eklutna, Inc. CEO. “We are grateful for the vision and respect shown by Wells Fargo toward the Dena’ina people.”
“This land is the centerpiece of an ongoing effort to protect and restore the lands and waters of great cultural and environmental value to the Eklutna people,” said Larry Selzer, president of The Conservation Fund. “We are pleased to work with Wells Fargo and Eklutna, Inc., and we applaud the corporate leadership and community appreciation for this wonderful and important conservation accomplishment.”
The land has cultural and historical significance to the Dena’ina people with traditional semi-subterranean dwellings (nichilq’a in Dena’ina Athabascan) and storage caches identified on the property. They are among the few remaining undisturbed Dena’ina habitations within the Municipality of Anchorage. The area remains a place for traditional subsistence activities such as hunting, fishing, and berry picking. Hills on the property are also revered as sacred grounds where ancestors’ ashes are spread. A unique granite formation on the land was the inspiration for the Native village’s name, Idlughetnu in Dena’ina Athabascan, which means river that flows by two hills.
On June 4, Wells Fargo announced that 54 environmental nonprofits were awarded grants totaling $3 million from the 2014 Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program. The grants include a total of $125,000 awarded in Alaska to the Anchorage Parks Foundation Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) program, the Alaska Zoo for its polar bear exhibit, and Alaska Pacific University’s Spring Creek Farm in Palmer. The philanthropic grants support projects focused on land and water conservation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, and educational outreach in communities where our customers and team members live and work. This grant program began in 2012 as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities by 2020.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo has 850 team members in Alaska who serve customers through a network of 57 banking, mortgage and investment offices, and 115 ATMs, in 28 communities.
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.5 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2014 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives and stories are also available at blogs.wellsfargo.com and at wellsfargo.com/stories.
In 2013, the Company invested $275.5 million in grants to 18,500 nonprofits, and team members contributed more than 1.69 million volunteer hours around the country. A leader in reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and operating sustainably, Wells Fargo has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the U.S. Green Building Council. Since 2005, Wells Fargo has provided more than $28 billion in environmental finance, supporting sustainable buildings and renewable energy projects nationwide. This includes investments in more than 300 solar projects and 47 wind projects that generate enough clean renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of American homes each year. For more information, please visit: www.wellsfargo.com/about/csr and the Wells Fargo Environmental Forum.
About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. The Fund has worked with Native peoples in Alaska and across the country to help strengthen and preserve their connections to the lands of their ancestors and enhance access to sacred natural resources. A top-ranked charity, we have protected more than more than 7 million acres nationwide, including more than 320,000 acres in Alaska. www.conservationfund.org
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EKLUTNA RIVER & FIRE CREEK CONSERVATION – AUGUST 2012
Eklutna Inc. and Great Land Trust to Conserve 1355 acres of Coastal Habitat for Salmon, Wildlife and the Public
Eklutna Inc. to receive $1.24 million for conservation easements at the mouth of Eklutna River and Fire Creek
Anchorage-Eklutna Inc. CEO Curtis McQueen, President & Chair Michael Curry, and Great Land Trust Executive Director Phil Shephard announced today that Eklutna Inc., the Alaska Native Village Corporation for Anchorage, will conserve 1355 coastal acres along Knik Arm at the mouth of the Eklutna River and Fire Creek with conservation easements. The land will remain under the ownership of Eklutna Inc. and used for traditional uses such as hunting and fishing by Shareholders. The property contains excellent habitat for all five species of salmon in Cook Inlet as well as many other wildlife species. In addition, the property is adjacent to Beach Lake Park, well known for its skiing and mushing trails. The Conservation Easement agreements conserve over 8 miles of coastline in upper Cook Inlet.
Great Land Trust has been working to conserve wetlands and other important habitats in southcentral Alaska since 1995. Eklutna, Inc is the largest private landowner in the Municipality of Anchorage and both organizations anticipate more conservation projects in the future. Eklutna, Inc. will be paid $1.24 million for the Eklutna River and Fire Creek conservation easements. The project was made possible through a collaborative effort with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA Fisheries, AK Dept of Fish and Game, and CIRI. Funding for these conservation easements was made possible through resources set aside to offset habitat losses associated with the expansion of the Port of Anchorage. The conservation easements follow the success of the 4,789 acre Knik River Islands Conservation Easement completed between Eklutna Inc, and Great Land Trust in November 2011.
Curtis McQueen praised the project and said that “Eklutna, Inc. has been working hard over the last several years to make more of its lands available for development so the growing community of Anchorage could continue to prosper. We have master planned strategic sections of our lands to meet the need for more residential, commercial and industrial development. At the same time, we are honored to work with the Great Land Trust to protect key habitat including the traditional Eklutna fish camp for our Shareholders and the community. We anticipate doing more transactions of this kind in the future”.
Eklutna, Inc. President and Chair, Michael Curry, recognized the importance of this easement and stated “As important as business development is for our corporation, we place a high priority on protecting habitat.”
Phil Shephard commended the deal, stating “the partnership between Great Land Trust and Eklutna, Inc. over the last two years has now resulted in conservation of an astounding 33 stream miles salmon habitat and over 8 miles of coastline in upper Knik Arm. We’re very impressed with the balanced and thoughtful approach Eklutna, Inc. has toward the management of its lands and look forward to working with Eklutna, Inc again soon.”
Left to Right: Michael Curry Eklutna Inc. President & Chair, Kim Zello Eklutna Inc Treasurer, Phil Shephard GLT, Nicole Hayes USACE, Steve Meyers USACE, Jim Arnesen Eklutna Inc. Corporate Land Manager, Benjamin Mills Eklutna Inc. Director, Maria Coleman Eklutna Inc. Vice Treasurer, Dan Kendall MOA Mayor’s Office, David Wigglesworth USFWS, Dave Michell GLT, Steve Ribuffo Port of Anchorage, Debbie Fullenwider Eklutna Inc. Vice President, Lieuenant Commander Stone USACE, Margie Brown CIRI, Lee Stephan Eklutna Inc Secretary, Dick Lefebvre GLT Board, Dara Glass CIRI, Representative Bill Stolze, Molly McCammon GLT Board, Schawna Thoma Senator Begich’s Office, Ethan Schutt CIRI, Colleen Miller CIRI, Dave Goade CIRI, Erin Ealum Eklutna Corporate Lands Assistant, Curtis McQueen Eklutna Inc CEO.
KNIK ISLAND CONSERVATION – NOVEMBER 2011
Eklutna Inc. and Great Land Trust to Conserve 4800 acres of Habitat for Salmon, Wildlife and the Public
Eklutna Inc. to receive $1.95 million for conservation easement at the confluence of the Knik and Matanuska Rivers
Anchorage-Eklutna Inc. CEO Curtis McQueen and Great Land Trust Executive Director Phil Shephard announced today that Eklutna Inc., the Native Corporation for Anchorage, will conserve nearly 4800 acres at the mouth of the Knik and Matanuska Rivers with a conservation easement. The land will remain under the ownership of Eklutna Inc. and traditional uses such as hunting and fishing by Shareholders and public access through permits will continue. The property contains excellent habitat for all five species of salmon in Cook Inlet as well as many other wildlife species. In addition, the property is adjacent to the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge and Chugach State Park, two of Alaska’s most popular recreational areas. Scenic views of the property are well known by travelers crossing the Knik River Bridge on the Glenn Highway.
Great Land Trust has been working to conserve wetlands and other important habitats in southcentral Alaska since 1995. Eklutna, Inc is the largest private landowner in the region and both organizations anticipate more conservation projects in the future. Eklutna, Inc. will be paid $1.95 million for the conservation easement. The project was made possible through a collaborative effort with the Mat-Su Salmon Partnership, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA Fisheries, AK Dept of Fish and Game and CIRI. Funding for this conservation easement was made possible through resources set aside to offset habitat losses associated with the expansion of the Port of Anchorage.
Curtis McQueen praised the project and said that “Eklutna Inc. has been working hard over the last several years to make more of its lands available for development so the growing community of Anchorage could continue to prosper. We have master planned strategic sections of our lands to meet the need for more residential, commercial and industrial development. At the same time, we are honored to work with the Great Land Trust to protect key habitat for our shareholders and the community. We anticipate doing more transactions of this kind in the future”.
Phil Shephard applauded the deal, stating “working together with the staff and board at Eklutna Inc. to permanently conserve 4800 acres for the citizens of southcentral Alaska has been enriching and incredibly rewarding-we look forward to the next project very soon!”