Ruffner reappointed to Board of Fisheries

Gov. Bill Walker reappointed Soldotna conservationist Robert Ruffner to the state Board of Fisheries Monday.

This is the second time for Ruffner, the former director of the Kenai Watershed Forum. Gov. Bill Walker initially appointed him to the Board of Fisheries in April 2015, but the Legislature failed to be confirm him in a controversial vote. Opponents said his appointment would upset the balance of the board and that his residence in Soldotna would make him inaccessible to Anchorage and Mat-Su fishermen.

Ruffner is one of three new appointments to the Board of Fisheries. The governor has to fill the seats of current members Tom Kluberton, Fritz Johnson and Robert Mumford. Kluberton and Johnson’s terms end at the end of this cycle, and Mumford chose to resign as of March 14, 2016.

Walker said in a press release that Ruffner will not be taking Mumford’s seat, the seat he was originally nominated for. That seat will go to Alan Cain of Anchorage, a former Alaska State Wildlife Trooper. The other seat will go to Israel Payton, a Wasilla resident with a background in personal-use fisheries.

“I am pleased to appoint Alan Cain, Israel Payton, and Robert Ruffner to the Alaska Board of Fisheries,” Walker said in the press release. “Alaska’s fisheries are enjoyed by many in our state, and the experience these three men bring to the board will ensure this resource is managed for the maximum benefit of Alaskans.”

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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