Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai to replace culvert obstructing baby salmon

The ordinance designates $30,000 for the project

The City of Kenai will replace a culvert said to be obstructing chinook and coho salmon smolt following a vote by Kenai City Council members last week to move forward with the project.

Kenai City Manager Terry Eubank wrote in a July 21 memo to council members that the city will work in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kenaitze Indian Tribe to replace the existing culvert with a fish passage culvert. A fish passage culvert, Eubank wrote, is meant to enhance salmon habitat in the Cemetery Creek.

Per the legislation passed by council members last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified Cemetery Creek as “having one of the highest populations of Coho and Chinook salmon smolt on the lower Kenai River.” Cemetery Creek comes from the outflow of the Kenai Municipal Airport’s Float Plane Basin to Cook Inlet.

In all, the ordinance designates $30,000 for the project, including $25,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and $5,000 in proceeds from the Kenai Silver Salmon Derby. The $25,000 will pay for preliminary design work and a cost estimate that the city will use later this year to apply for additional grant opportunities.

Use of the $5,000 in derby proceeds, Eubank wrote, marks the first time the city has used any proceeds for a project. Those proceeds are designated for the management and protection of river banks and other riparian zones.

The project scope, Eubank said, includes excavating the dirt mount that encloses the city water main, supporting the water main while it is exposed, installing the new culvert and then reburying the water main.

Kenai City Council meetings can be streamed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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