Hiker Brandie Cheatham puts every inch of her XTRA TUFF boots to the test on the Indian River trail during flooding in Sitka in 2014. A year later, programmer Eric Matthes noticed similar flooding along the Indian River (Ḵaasda Héen), and wondered if it could be correlated to landslide hazard in Sitka. (Brian McNitt photo)

Former Sitka science teacher and programmer Eric Matthes noticed an extraordinarily rapid rise in the Indian River (Ḵaasda Héen) while on a trail run the morning of August 18, 2015. At the same time, three landslides struck in Sitka, one of them deadly. Matthes has since correlated eleven other landslides around Sitka since 2014 with high water events on the river, and developed an online tool that indicates when a rainstorm is producing a possible landslide hazard — and when it’s not.

Matthes discusses his work with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey.