To the south, Eyak Lake drains into Eyak River which flows for six miles before entering the western Copper River Delta, eventually reaching the Gulf of Alaska.
The temperate rainforests surrounding Eyak Lake show the interchange between forest and ocean, and these natal coastal rainforest streams make an ideal spawning site for Pacific salmon. The path from Eyak River to Eyak Lake to Power Creek is the principal salmon spawning route of Eyak Lake.
Power Creek is an 11-mile stream fed by Scott Glacier that extends from the northeastern tip of Eyak Lake. Here, salmon both build the strength to survive in marine waters and eventually return to spawn. As snow and glaciers melt, the stream fills with sediment and turquoise water. This makes it challenging for fish to see their prey, meaning excess glacier runoff threatens the survival of salmon.
Flying into Cordova is the first introduction to the beauty of a place that is so full of connections. It's no wonder we use the term perspective to describe both a view and a mindset. Cordova and the Eyak Lake area can only be accessed via plane or boat; no roads lead to Cordova.
BIRDS AND WILDLIFE
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus): The Alaskan bald eagle population is estimated at 30,000 birds. These birds of prey are the largest bird of prey in the state, with an average wingspan of up to 8 feet and weighing 8-14 pounds.
Trumpeter Swan (Olor buccinator): Approximately 10% of the world's trumpeter swans nest in the Copper River Delta area in the spring. About 100 swans winter over on Eyak Lake.
Dusky Canada Geese (Branta canadensis occidentalis): "Duskies" --in long term decline because of habitat changes--nest in the Copper River Delta and winter in the Willamette Valley area near Eugene, Oregon
Migratory Birds: Approximately 4.5-5 million use the Copper River Delta as a migratory stopover. Over 235 species of birds have been identified during this migration.
Scavenger Birds: data point on Scavenger birds
Black bears (Ursus americanus) in Alaska are the most common bear species in the state. In the Eyak Lake area, black bears hibernate approximately five months; longer in colder climes. Warming temperature trends affect hibernation and food availability, which in turn affect ability to mate and how long mothers rear young.
SITKA SPRUCE: data point on sitka
Salmon live an average of 4 to 5 years, traveling from their nascent stream to the ocean, then back to spawn and die. As they return to Eyak Lake and find their way up Power Creek, HERE
GROUND AND WATER
data point on
RETREATING GLACIERS IN THE EYAK LAKE REGION
“How the climate has been changing over the past few decades of anthropogenic influence really has manifest itself quite well. It provides tangible evidence for how climate change is affecting the landscapes.”
Shad O'Neel, head of the glacier research program at the USGS Alaska Science Center on retreating Alaskan glaciers, in "Alaska's Glaciers are Retreating" Climate Wire September 30, 2016
Inland lakes and temperature changes
Mark has short video for this space
Elodea, commonly known as waterweed, is an invasive plant that was first spotted in Alaska in Eyak Lake in 1982. The plant has since spread to other parts of the state, threatening native plants species and altering habitats as it grows. The U.S. Forest Service uses both removal and herbicide to combat this process, but Elodea can proliferate from just a fragment of a plant.
video and statement
HUMANS AND EYAK LAKE
data point on numbers of fishing licenses in the area