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The Municipality of Anchorage Watershed Management Services works to protect and improve the quality of all Anchorage’s streams and waterways in order to comply with federal and state regulations, specifically the Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES).
The creeks, streams, wetlands, and other waters within the Municipality of Anchorage give our city much of its unique character. This network of waterways supports not only fish, wildlife, and natural habitats, but also businesses, neighborhoods, and the health of our community, improving our quality of life.
Stormwater and Water Quality
As Anchorage grows, development can disrupt and permanently alter natural watershed conditions and functions through clearing, altering topography (flattening hills, filling low lands), compacting soil, and building parking lots, roads, and driveways. As Anchorage is developed, more stormwater flows directly into creeks and waterways, rather than being filtered through the soil. This runoff accumulates pollutants (car oil, grease, pesticides, detergents, etc.) that flow directly into the streams and waterways. The change in stormwater volumes and timing can also cause higher than natural rates of erosion along stream banks and streambeds.
Many people believe that stormwater is clean and does not harm water quality. Although the amount of pollution from any one spot is not usually significant, when many small amounts are combined they can cause significant water quality problems. Similarly, while small volumes of stormwater may not change runoff patterns, many small runoff events taken together can cause significant erosion problems and flooding.
The mission of Watershed Management is to:
- Maintain the viability and integrity of our aquatic resources by protecting and preserving healthy watersheds.
- Provide leadership and guidance in watershed management through sound technology and ecological engineering and planning.
- Encourage sustainable growth, maximize safety, minimize flood damage, and conserve natural resources to ensure the best quality of life for current and future generations.