Community help sought in disposal issue

Animal carcasses should go to baler, ocean or fast-flowing water

State and federal wildlife biologists are seeking more community cooperation in proper disposal of animal parts continuously being dumped illegally, posing a health hazard to people and wildlife alike.

Charlotte Westing, the Prince William Sound area wildlife biologist with the Cordova office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, is cautioning people about dumping carcasses off docks near the boat harbor, where depending on the tide, carcasses might just return.

Westing is also urging people to stop using Hartney Bay as a dump site, stating that people regularly recreate near the shore and water.

Milo Burcham, a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist and Chugach subsistence program lead, recommends people use the fuel dock, near the ferry terminal, or the Sheridan River Bridge, located at roughly mile 14 of the Copper River Highway.

Deer and partial moose carcasses have been ill-disposed of at various locations around town including the pull-off near the burn pile on Orca Road, down Power Creek Road and at Hartney Bay Bridge.

According to an Environmental Health Summary submitted a few years ago by Ivy Patton, environmental coordinator for the Native Village of Eyak, wildlife, including scavenger birds, and pets are attracted to the carcasses and can spread diseases caused from rotten carcasses to faraway locations and into the household.

Earlier this month, Patton had to chase her dog away from an animal carcass on Power Creek Road during their lunchtime walk.

On Sept. 1, the fish cleaning station on Orca Road was closed for the season after numerous bears occupied the area in search for fish scraps.

Just two months later, on Nov. 6, two deer carcasses were scattered along the pull-off, right past the city burn pile, a few hundred feet from the fish cleaning station.

Ravens engulfed the area, picking scraps off from improperly disposed legs and rib cages while the hide of both deer rested on the rocks directly below.

Hunters are required to dump carcasses in a fast-flowing body of water, in the ocean, or at the Cordova City Baler, located on Whitshed Road.

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Emily Mesner is a staff reporter and photographer for The Cordova Times. Reach her at Emily graduated from Central Michigan University, earning a degree in photojournalism with a cultural competency certificate. She first visited Alaska in 2016, working as a media intern for the National Park Service in Kotzebue and Denali National Park and Preserve, and has been coming back ever since. To see more photos, follow @thecordovatimes and @emilymesnerphoto on Instagram.