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Film highlights cultural value of restoring the Eklutna River

Published: Dec. 26, 2020 at 7:38 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -A new short film is highlighting the cultural and ecological importance of the Eklutna River, which had been dammed and blocking salmon migration for nearly 90 years, and the progress on restoring the river in Southcentral Alaska.

The Lower Eklutna Dam was removed in 2018, but the river has not been revitalized because the water is diverted for hydropower generation and drinking water.

The film “Return to Us,” produced by The Conservation Fund, The Native Village of Eklutna, Eklutna Inc., and other partners shows the work that has been done and what is keeping the river from being fully restored.

“When we think about a lot of the problems with hydroelectric projects and salmon, a lot of times we think about the Pacific Northwest and didn’t realize that there was one right here in our backyard,” Eric Booton, Eklutna project manager for Trout Unlimited said. “Removal of the dam kind of highlighted the problem, gave us an opportunity to really tell the public that there’s an issue in our backyard, we can solve this problem, and we can have a nice little storybook ending.”

The film is available to view online for free at EklutnaRiver.org.

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