Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information
                                The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above Aug. 26 on Kenai Peninsula.

Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above Aug. 26 on Kenai Peninsula.

Residents urge for climate action plan inclusion in borough comprehensive plan

The 2019 Kenai Peninsula Borough Comprehensive Plan final draft has been released and residents are calling on the assembly to maintain the plan’s recommendation for a climate action plan that includes local climate adaptation and mitigation measures.

The comprehensive plan is for the systematic and organized development of the borough and is updated to reflect changing conditions, trends, laws, regulations and policies, according to the ordinance asking the assembly to approve the 2019 comprehensive plan.

The last Kenai Peninsula Borough Comprehensive Plan was updated in 2005. The social, economic and environmental conditions of the Kenai Peninsula Borough have changed over the past 14 years, the ordinance said.

The comprehensive plan includes details on how climate change may impact the borough and strategies the borough can implement to combat and adapt to warming climate impacts.

The assembly has already received public comment in support of the climate action plan’s inclusion, including two public comments at the Oct. 8 assembly meeting and 10 letters sent to the borough asking to “protect our future.” The letters encourage a climate action plan that includes adaptation measures, renewable energy strategies and a carbon footprint reduction.

The cities of Seldovia and Soldotna also have resolutions on their city council agendas supporting the inclusion of a climate action plan in the borough’s comprehensive plan.

“While not everyone agrees on the causes of climate change, there is no doubt that Alaska is seeing significant and accelerating changes in temperatures, precipitation, storm events and Habitats,” the comprehensive plan said. “More work is needed to assess the specific nature and anticipated pace and intensity of these changes, and possible adaptation strategies. Some of these changes will likely be negative, like increased wildfire and flooding hazards; others may be positive, like expanding seasons for agriculture. The Borough has a large role to play in the planning for and response to climate change-related impacts on existing and future public infrastructures.”

Known impacts to the borough include warmer temperatures, unpredictable and more severe weather particularly along the coasts, later winter freezing and earlier spring thawing, increased risks of flooding and erosion, increased risk of fire due to receiving less rain, and threats to vegetation by invasive species, and environmental shifts that change behavior patterns and availability of resources for native plants and wildlife, the comprehensive plan said.

Planning department staff and the comprehensive plan consulting team have been working on the comprehensive plan document for over two years, a Sept. 26 memo from planner Bruce Wall to Mayor Charlie Pierce said.

Throughout 2017, over 2,000 residents shared their ideas with the planning commission and comprehensive plan consulting team, Agnew Beck, who was hired in February 2017 team to assist with the project, the memo said. The team conducted more than 50 interviews and small group discussions with local organizations, they conducted a random sample telephone survey of 600 households within the borough and had a booth or other presence at 20 public events in the borough, the memo said.

On Sept. 23, the planning commission approved the comprehensive plan document and recommended its adoption by the assembly.

At the Nov. 5 assembly meeting, there will be a public hearing and the assembly will vote on the plan’s approval.

Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion
                                Areas burned by the Swan Lake Fire can be seen from Vista Trail at Upper Skilak Campground.

Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion Areas burned by the Swan Lake Fire can be seen from Vista Trail at Upper Skilak Campground.

More in News

This 2020 electron microscope made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image shows the spherical coronavirus particles from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. (C.S. Goldsmith, A. Tamin/CDC via AP)
7 new COVID-19 cases, 4 on peninsula

Cases were reported in Anchorage, Kenai, Homer and in unspecified areas of the peninsula.

Registered Nurse Cathy Davis (left) and Chief Nursing Officer Dawn Johnson (right) work at a table to get COVID-19 tests ready for the public Friday, May 29, 2020 at the Boat House Pavilion on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Expanding testing available on southern peninsula

South Peninsula Hospital announced last week it would begin offering free, rapid COVID-19 testing.

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna is photographed on Monday, June 1. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough begins reopening

The reopenings are part of phase one of the borough’s approach to reopening responsibly.

The women’s field takes to the course Tuesday, July 4, 2017, at the Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska. Eventual winner Allie Ostrander is to the right of Christy Marvin (1). (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Mount Marathon Race canceled for 2020

The 93rd running of the race up and down the 3,022-foot mountain is rescheduled for July 4, 2021.

A graph by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services created on its Coronavirus Datahub on Sunday, May 31, 2020, shows the number of positive COVID-19 cases acquired by day since the first cases were recorded in March. The increase of 27 cases on May 31 marks the largest single jump in one day in Alaska. (Graphic courtesy of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)
Alaska sees biggest jump in COVID-19 cases yet

Kenai, Homer, Soldotna, Kenai Peninsula Borough and Anchor Point all reported cases.

Signs along Poopdeck Street on Friday, May 29, 2020, in Homer, Alaska, offer inspiration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Put up by the South Kenai Peninsula Resiliency Coalition, the signs read “Daily life loooks very different now. Routine and structure create a sense of safety. How can your daily rhythm support you?” (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
2 new peninsula COVID-19 cases Saturday

DHSS also announced two other Alaska cases, one for Anchorage and one for Wasilla.

Kenai Peninsula Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Rachel Chaffee, right loads up a pallet with goods that Carlile driver Robert Ivy will take back to Carlile’s Kenai headquarters, where it will then be transported to Anchorage and ultimately Seward, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska on May 28, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Boys Girls Clubs expanding meal service

The nonprofit is serving about 650 meals a day across the peninsula.

Alaska VA to break ground on new clinic

The clinic will be located at 241 East Rockwell Ave. in Soldotna.

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26 . (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Borough looks at purchasing new COVID-19 testing machine

The platform would be purchased for no more than $400,000, with expected delivery in four to six months.

Most Read