Formative Years: 2000-2007
In 2000, the Southwest Alaska Conservation Coalition was formed to bring together local communities, non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies, Alaska Native corporations, tribal governments, and residents to protect salmon habitat in the wild salmon stronghold of southwest Alaska through conservation and education. The original mission of the coalition was to protect the integrity of conservation units and prevent habitat fragmentation by purchasing fee or conservation easements on private land inholdings within State and National Parks and Refuges. Founding partners included The Conservation Fund, Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust (BBHLT), Bristol Bay Native Association, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and the Nature Conservancy. During this period, over $17 million was raised to purchase fee or conservation easements on 69 tracts of land comprising over 78 thousand acres. Most tracts were conveyed to Federal or State conservation units. A few tracts were conveyed to BBHLT.
The coalition petitioned for recognition as a partnership under the National Fish Habitat Partnership and was recognized by its Board of Directors in 2008, becoming the Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership. Now part of a broader network of fish habitat partnerships across the U.S., the Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership is one of three in Alaska formally recognized by NFHP.