Donna Aderhold | Homer, Kachemak Bay
Program Coordinator, Gulf Watch Alaska

“What if we look at things a different way? What if, for salmon habitat, people understood more about salmon from spawning to juvenile stages to growth in the marine system to return to natal streams? Everyone says they love salmon and want to protect them, but they also want to build their house overlooking the river and no one likes the extra cost of a bridge instead of a culvert. What if people better understood the tradeoffs they are making? How do we educate the public, developers, and industry to create a culture of salmon sustainability from egg to adult?”

Donna Aderhold has spent 28 years conducting wildlife research in Alaska, monitoring and analyzing the impacts of proposed development projects under the National Environmental Policy Act, and working with project proponents to receive state and federal environmental regulatory permits.  She’s worked closely with research and management biologists; state and federal regulatory agency personnel; proponents of mining, oil and gas, transportation, and other development projects; and a diverse array of stakeholders. 

Aderhold is interested in gaining perspective on the cultural importance of salmon and the role of salmon in food security across the state, and how these two factors intersect, complement, and conflict.  It is her hope that discussion of these topics through the Alaska Salmon Fellows program may help the “user groups” to find common ground and address age-old differences.  “I am always looking for ways to grow personally and see participation as a Salmon Fellow as a huge opportunity for growth,” Aderhold wrote in her Fellows’ application.  “I am interested in learning different perspectives on salmon (and life) from others who have completely different backgrounds and ways of seeing the world.”

Aderhold, who holds a B.S. and M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science, is currently the Program Coordinator for Gulf Watch Alaska - where she supports the efforts of more than 30 scientists collecting data about environmental changes related to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Gulf of Alaska as part of a long-term ecological monitoring program.  Aderhold  is also deeply engaged in her local community where she serves as a Community Council Member of the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, on the Board of Directors of the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, and as a City Council Member for the city of Homer.