Communities within oil spill zones face great challenges as they attempt to recover from devastation. Thirty-one years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, several species, including Pacific herring, marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemots and the region’s transient killer whale pod are on the verge of extinction. A major decline of fisheries has led to loss of subsistence and commercial fishing livelihoods for Alaska Native People.
One way we can help heal the ocean and create new opportunities for the people is through the cultivation of regenerative kelp farms/forests along the 1,500-mile stretch of coast impacted by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Kelp provides habitat during a critical phase of wild salmon and herring life cycles. Kelp is also a traditional food source for Alaska Native Peoples that has been harvested for millennia. (The Eyak word for kelp is: duh.)
Dune Lankard, an Eyak Elder, longtime activist, and Founder of Native Conservancy has designed a pilot program that integrates Eyak ecological knowledge and science and puts it to work in the Exxon Valdez Spill Zone. Native Conservancy currently has seven research kelp farms in the water, and will be testing the kelp this spring.