Ruffner appointed to Board of Fisheries

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Monday, March 23, 2015 4:14pm
  • News
Ruffner appointed to Board of Fisheries

The outgoing director of the Soldotna-based Kenai Watershed Forum has been appointed by Gov. Bill Walker to the state’s Board of Fisheries.

Robert Ruffner, a longtime central Kenai Peninsula resident known for his habitat advocacy, applied for the spot in February and has been appointed to the seat recently vacated by former chairman Karl Johnstone. Johnstone resigned from his term early upon learning that he would not be reappointed for another term. The board is tasked with setting statewide fisheries regulation.

Ruffner said the governor’s office called him Monday to let him know that he’d been selected. He said he was honored and humbled to have gotten the nod.

“As the nominee, there are still 60 legislators that will weigh in on the nomination and I hope that they look at my record of public service, background in science and dedication to the work I’ve done to date,” he said.

Ruffner came out ahead of at least 12 other people who had applied for a board seat in 2015. However, board member Orville Huntington’s term expires in June and the governor has yet to announce whether he’ll reappoint Huntington to the position. Board of Fisheries appointments must be made by April 1 of the calendar year in which the board member’s term expires.

All appointments to the board are subject to legislative confirmation. The governor’s last appointment to the seat, another Kenai Peninsula man, Roland Maw, was an unpopular choice with some legislators. Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, and Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, questioned his appointment and what it would mean for non-commercial access to fish.

Maw, a retired commercial fisherman and former executive director of a commercial fishing advocacy group, resigned the appointment and is currently facing an investigation in Montana over questions of his residency in that state and in Alaska.

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, said in February that he was happy to hear that Ruffner had applied.

“I am very excited that Gov. Walker recognizes the value in someone from the Central Peninsula being seriously considered for the Board of Fisheries and hope a viable candidate rises to the top and is seriously considered by the Legislature,” he said.

Ruffner said he’d heard from a lot of people that the board needed to maintain a balance between all user groups in the fisheries that it managed.

“I’m fully aware of that and I’m just going to do what’s in the best interest of Alaskans,” he said.

Reach Rashah McChesney at or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens.

More in News

Mount Redoubt can be seen acoss Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Offshore oil plan envisions a single Cook Inlet sale

The proposed 2023-2028 plan is similar to the just-ended Obama administration five-year plan

People line the streets in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022 for the annual Independence Day parade. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Red, white and blue all day

Kenai turns out for parade, activities to celebrate Independence Day

A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
StoryWalk is back after vandalism

The installation was discontinued last September after someone damaged the poles and podium plexiglass

Shawn Dick of Talkneetna carries a fresh catch out of the water while dipnetting on the Kenai Beach on July 10, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Kenai River dipnetting opens this month

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens July 10

The sun is seen shining above the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on July 14, 2020. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clario file)
When the temperature hits 70, Alaskans feel the heat — and start suffering health ills

Acclimatization, the angle of the sun at high latitudes and other factors make summer heat more intense in Alaska

A map shows active fires around the state of Alaska on Friday, July 1, 2022. (Screenshot from Alaska Wildland Fire Information Map)
Fire danger prompts restrictions on burning, fireworks

There were 160 fires in Alaska as of Thursday, and of those 17 were staffed with fire personnel

Jessica Cook, left, and Les Gara are photographed in The Peninsula Clarion’s offices Thursday in Kenai. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Gara, Cook campaign on the Kenai Peninsula

The pair cited education funding, reproductive rights and election security as priorities

A map shows the Seward Highway MP 17-22.5 Rehabilitation Project area. The Seward Highway between Mileposts 17 and 22.5 — from about Primrose Campground to near Teddy’s Inn The Woods — will be closed from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday starting July 18, 2022. (Screenshot)
Roadwork in Moose Pass to shut parts of Seward Highway

The Seward Highway between Mileposts 17 and 22.5 will be closed from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday starting July 18

Most Read