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Marine Salmon Interactions Program

Facility Upgrades and Repairs at Little Port Walter Marine Station

With support from the NOAA Headquarters Facilities Maintenance section (Carol Ciufolo and Bob Williams), and with the help of ABL facility manager Jack Christiansen, procurement specialists Suzanne Johnston and Heather Mahle and information technology specialist Troy Martin, NOAA's Little Port Walter Marine Station is scheduled for substantial upkeep and upgrades.

In part because of the extreme weather conditions (averaging greater than 200 inches of snowfall in the last 3 years), many of the LPW buildings were in need of new roofing and truss support. The main warehouse will also get a complete face-lift plus insulation to reduce the severe condensation problems in winter. Other upgrades will include buried power, plus a voice, data, and video conduit which will improve communications both within and offsite through satellite uplinks.

As part of NOAA's commitment to reducing its facilities' carbon footprint, contracts were also initiated to determine the feasibility of replacing the diesel generation of electricity at the station with hydropower. Facility upgrades such as this will ensure NOAA Fisheries will continue to have a dynamic and flexible 2,500 acre research base situated in pristine, old-growth rainforest adjacent to the Gulf of Alaska and close to the center of salmon productivity in North America.

By Frank Thrower

Little Port Walter Marine Station Seventy-fifth Anniversary Event

Little Port Walter Marine Station on Baranof Island celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary on 31 July 2009 in recognition of the many important contributions to fisheries science resulting from the 75 years of research conducted at the facility. As the oldest year-round biological station in Alaska, LPW is managed and operated by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Auke Bay Laboratories.

The special anniversary event was sponsored by NOAA Fisheries, Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA), the University of Alaska School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, (SFOS), Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), and the Alaska State Museum. The anniversary was highlighted by more than 110 visiting scientists, former staff, guest, and friends who convened at LPW where they discussed current and past research activities along with reviewing the facility's infrastructure.

Senior retirees who worked at LPW during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s attended the event including Bernie Skud, Betty Olson, Ted Merrell, Willard Brewington, and Ralph Wells. (Bernie's and Willard's sons were also along to watch after their dads.)

An Allan Marine catamaran took 70 people from Auke Bay Harbor to LPW where they joined with another contingent of more than 40 people from Sitka, Petersburg, Port Alexander and other parts of Alaska. Although LPW is well noted for its wet weather with a long-term average annual precipitation of over 240 inches, a beautiful, clear, sunny day made both the catamaran transit down Chatham Strait and on-site visits at LPW a memorable day for all.

A series of large posters on the catamaran and at LPW provided overviews on much of the history and research at the station. Several scrapbooks assembled by LPW staff over the years also were available for review, including one by Sam Hutchinson that covered the first few years of "LPW Camp" from its beginning in 1934. Several hundred digitized photographs of LPW events and activities had been uploaded for viewing to a computer on the transport catamaran. A detailed listing of all peer-reviewed publications, reports, documents, and other accounts of research activities at LPW had been compiled with listings both by year of publication and by author.

Assigned staff leaders provided tours of the station's points of interest to groups of 10-15 individuals. Based on general comments from participants the Little Port Walter Marine Station seventy-fifth anniversary event was deemed a great success!

By Bill Heard

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