The extent of the damage along Margaret Creek led the U.S. Forest Service to prioritize restoring the area. If left alone, experts estimated it could take 150- to 200 years for the trees to regrow and naturally fall into the stream. Fish populations would continue to be negatively affected without intervention. The area’s popularity as a recreation site for cruise-ship passengers on day excursions and local residents likely weighed into its prioritization. With local fish and wildlife, people, and the economy all standing to benefit, the restoration project began in earnest.
The Forest Service partnered with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition (SAWC) and the Ketchikan Indian Community (KIC) for the project. Together, they completed restoration on over 1.25 miles of the creek over 2021 and 2022. Local contractor P&T Construction used heavy equipment to place whole trees and root wads in the creek. A local work crew completed the hand-tool work where heavy machinery couldn’t get access.
In May 2022, the Forest Service, SAWC and KIC hosted an in-stream restoration workshop in Ketchikan which trained Tribal crews from Ketchikan, Klawock and Metlakatla. Many of those attendees went on to work on the Margaret Creek project. This project is the first one to involve the three organizations. “It’s shared values over salmon is really what it boils down to,” said Rob Cadmus, executive director of SAWC, “and the desire, the recognition that one, the good work needs to get done to restore those same streams. And two, if we can do that work in a way that engages the community and people hear about the project and it’s successful, its impact is broader than just the actual restoration work.”