Stormwater Display - 61° 9' 46" N, 149° 52' 35" W

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A Storm Brewing

Roads, driveways, and roofs are part of the urban landscape. These hardened surfaces can have unfortunate impacts on our water quality and salmon.

Altered Landscape

Urban development has transformed parts of Anchorage's landscape into roofs, streets, and other hardened surfaces, impacting water quality and quantity. Rain and snowmelt run off these hardened surfaces rather than soaking into the ground. Stormwater flows rapidly into storm drains and then into our creeks where it can result in flash flooding. This runoff also carries harmful pollutants into creeks. Curiously, hardened surfaces can also reduce the amount of water in our creeks. Paved surfaces prevent water from soaking into the soil and replenishing groundwater that creeks depend on to maintain flows during dry periods.

Unnatural Impacts

Flooding, pollution, and prolonged low water levels are more than just an inconvenience for salmon in our creeks. Flash flooding erodes creek banks, filling the water with sediment that can smother salmon eggs. Lower water levels in summer may result in higher water temperatures that are harmful to young salmon. Polluted water affects the health of everything that lives in the creek, including salmon.

Means to Clean Water

The Municipality of Anchorage is working with the public to reduce problems associated with stormwater runoff. Some activities include the following:

  • Working with builders to ensure new development creates less stormwater runoff
  • Reducing the amount of salt used on streets in the winter
  • Sweeping streets during spring breakup so that sediment isn't washed into creeks
  • Constructing snow storage sites to trap sediment and reduce runoff water from melting snow
  • Implementing a rain garden program to reduce runoff entering local creeks (

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