Nomination Submission Instructions

The following explains the procedures for nominating streams, rivers or lakes for inclusion into the Catalog of Waters Important for Spawning, Rearing or Migration of Anadromous Fishes and Atlas of Waters Important for Spawning, Rearing or Migration of Anadromous Fishes.


Alaska Statute 16.05.871(a) requires the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to “specify the various rivers, lakes and streams or parts of them” of the state that are important to the spawning, rearing or migration of anadromous fishes. The Catalog of Waters Important for the Spawning, Rearing or Migration of Anadromous Fishes and its associated atlas (the Catalog and Atlas, respectively) are the media used to accomplish this specification and are adopted as regulation under 5 AAC 95.011. Activities and uses conducted in, or otherwise affecting, any of the waters specified in the catalog require prior approval from the ADF&G. Activities and uses requiring approval range fording streams with vehicles to constructing complex bridge or hydro-electric projects. The Habitat Division of ADF&G reviews project plans and specifications submitted by permit applicants for proposed uses or activities. If project plans provide for the proper protection of fish habitat, a Fish Habitat Permit is issued authorizing the activity. Applications for activities that would damage fish habitat are not approved or are approved with stipulations to mitigate adverse impacts.

The Catalog and Atlas are important because they specify which streams, rivers, and lakes are important to anadromous fish species and therefore afforded protection under AS 16.05.871. Water bodies that are not “specified” within the Catalog and Atlas are not afforded that protection. To be protected under AS 16.05.871, water bodies must be documented as supporting some life function of an anadromous fish species (salmon, trout, char, whitefish, sturgeon, etc.). Anadromous fish must have been seen or collected and identified by a qualified observer. Most nominations come from Department of Fish and Game fisheries or habitat biologists. Others are received from private individuals, companies and biologists from other state and federal agencies. The Catalog and Atlas currently contain over 17,000 streams, rivers or lakes around the state, which have been specified as being important for the spawning, rearing or migration of anadromous fish.


The ADF&G accepts nominations for additions or changes to the Catalog and Atlas year round, with a formal call for nominations occurring in September and October of each year. Persons wishing to nominate streams, rivers or lakes to the Catalog and Atlas submit nomination forms to the ADF&G Sportfish Division office located at 333 Raspberry Road in Anchorage. Fisheries field crews can assemble nominations for streams identified during the field season for submittal during the formal call. Nominations are sent to the project biologist for processing; following review the nomination is sent to appropriate regional supervisor for their review. After area and regional review, nominations are compiled and checked for completeness and accuracy. Incomplete nominations are returned to the submitting party for completion or additional information. The ADF&G assign the approved nominated waters a nomination number. The Habitat Biologist in charge of the AWC project then reviews, approves, and prepares mapping instructions. Nominations are then submitted to the cartography staff so annotations can be added to base maps. Maps are printed and reviewed to ensure annotations reflect the latest nomination information. Following final approval the stream data is added to a GIS database. Nominations returned to their originators for additional information are included in this process as the completed nominations are returned to the ADF&G.

The ADF&G then sends draft Atlas maps and proposed Catalog changes to its area offices for a combination “in-house” and public review. Public notification that the department is amending the regulations pertaining to the Atlas and Catalog (5 AAC 95.011) is published in various newspapers statewide and is supplemented by mailings to interested parties. The public may review and comment on the revised Atlas maps and Catalog entries at most area offices during this period. Area biologists also review the maps at this time to ensure accuracy with their original submissions. Needed corrections are forwarded in writing to the Anadromous Waters Catalog Project Biologist in Anchorage. The public review and comment period lasts at least 30 days and normally takes place from January through March. Comments received from the public during this period are provided to regional biologists with specific expertise in the pertinent area and, if confirmed, are incorporated into the AWC.

Following the public review period and any resulting changes, the regulation adoption orders are submitted to the Attorney General’s office and the Lieutenant Governor for review and adoption into regulation by department thirty days after being signed and filed by the Lieutenant Governor the revised regulation (5 AAC 95.011) becomes effective which then “specifies” the nominated streams. Finally, the newly revised catalogs are published and the maps that were provided during the review process are added to the area offices’ Atlases. Any maps, which were changed as a result of the public review, are also made available at this time.

Nomination Form Instructions

Although the form is fairly self-explanatory the following instructions apply.

AWC Region

enter the appropriate ADF&G fish and game resource management region in which the water body is located (Arctic, Interior, Southcentral, Southeastern, Southwestern, or Western).


enter the U.S. Geological Survey 1:63,360 scale quadrangle map(s) in which the nominated portion of the water body is located. If the nominated water body is located on more than one quad, first list the quad, which contains the stream’s mouth followed by the other quad(s) in an upstream sequence. Drop down listings of regions is provided. Drop down listings of regions is provided. If you are not sure of the region select unknown.

AWC Number of Water Body

For previously cataloged waters, enter the water body number as listed in previous versions of the Atlas and Catalog. For previously uncataloged waters, enter the number for the cataloged water that the new water body flows into. This number will form the prefix for the number of the nominated stream. If unknown the space may be left blank. Drop down listings of regions is provided. If you are not sure of the region select unknown.

Name of Water Body

For named water bodies enter the name as it appears on the USGS Quadrangle map and check the space to the right indicating a USGS name. If the water body is unnamed on the USGS maps but has a recognized local name, enter that name and check the space to the right indicating a local name. Drop down listings of regions is provided. If you are not sure of the region select unknown.

Upper and lower reach coordinates

Enter latitude and longitude of upper & lower extend of observed fish presence (decimal degrees i.e. 147.56 W, 61.258 N). If you are unsure of coordinates leave blank and click on "Find Location On Map" button. When statewide map appears, zoom into area of interest using magnifier or Region zoom. Zoom in until USGS topographical features appear. Click on AWC Nomination Tool (left of AWC button at top). Fix upper point by placing cross hair at upper sampling location and left mouse click. A red dot should appear and coordinates will appear in window below map. Next, set lower point by placing cross hair at lower sampling location and left mouse click. A blue dot should appear and coordinates will appear in window below map. Click Submit button to enter coordinates onto nomination form.

Nomination Type

Check the appropriate space to indicate one or more of the following types of nomination submittal. Multiple types of changes may be included on one nomination form; however there should be a separate nomination form for each individual water body. If in doubt as to the type, leave it blank.

  1. Addition

    Use for the addition of previously uncataloged water bodies, addition of species or life phases of species using a cataloged water body, extension of the cataloged area of a previously cataloged water body, addition of a name to a cataloged stream, etc.

  2. Deletion

    Use for deletion of the above items or deletion of an entire water body.

  3. NOTE: Deletions of water bodies, or portions thereof, or species within them should only be submitted if it can be demonstrated (through repeated yearly surveys) that anadromous fish use has not occurred for a number of years or that the water body or portion thereof is inaccessible to anadromous fishes due to a permanent natural or authorized manmade blockage.

  4. Correction

    To nominate corrections to existing information within the Catalog or Atlas such as errors in species symbols; water body numbers; stream mouth locations, upper reach, or channel locations which are no longer accurate; etc. This is for changes to inaccurately depicted information rather than changes in anadromous fish usage.

  5. Backup

    This is for submittal of survey or anadromous fish use information for water bodies or portions of water bodies that are already cataloged. This additional information is particularly helpful for water bodies, which have appeared in the Catalog and Atlas for many years but are not regularly surveyed as part of a fisheries management program.

Do not write within the “For Office Use” box. These items will be filled in as part of the tracking process.

Observation Information

Fill in all species observed, dates observed, and numbers observed for each life phase observed. We would like to receive information on all species encountered during your surveys. Only the anadromous species will be entered into the Atlas. The information on non-anadromous species provides valuable resource information and will be compiled separately. Check the anadromous column to denote anadromous populations of listed species (i.e. to clarify nominations regarding Dolly Varden, Arctic Char, whitefish or other species which may have both anadromous and non-anadromous populations and to define which of the listed species are to be added to the Atlas). Drop down list of anadromous species is provided. If your nomination involves more than four anadromous fish note those species as well as non-anadromous fish species, include those fish species in comments section of the nomination form.

Comments & Other Info

Provide any clarifying information available (e.g., the number of fish observed, behavior, type of survey conducted, location of survey data, soak hours for traps, CPUE, stream characteristics at survey site, etc.). Attach copies of the survey data, field notes or final report.

Signature Block

Observer is identified from log in information and IP address is used to validate the nomination so entry here is unnecessary. Forms for observations and nominations by ADF&G personnel of Biologist I level or higher are “signed” only by that biologist. Nominations submitted by lower level ADF&G personnel, personnel of another agency, or a member of the public also need to be confirmed by an ADF&G biologist (SF, CF, WC) responsible for the area in question. Fish Distribution Database Project Biologist will accomplish this. After you have completed form, mouse click on Submit. If you have forms to attach you will be prompted to do so. Once the nomination has been logged it will be assigned a nomination number. You will be notified what the nomination number is and you should use the nomination number to determine the status of you nomination.