Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District Resolution: Ask biologists, salmon need legal help

The Board of Supervisors of the Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District adopted the following resolution at its October meeting:

WHEREAS, Wild salmon have been greatly diminished or eliminated from most of their natural range and are still found in historical abundance within the State of Alaska; and

WHEREAS, conserving healthy salmon habitat and restoring damaged salmon habitat are among the top natural resource concerns on the Kenai Peninsula, and a significant portion of District activity is devoted to these goals; and

WHEREAS, addressing the major threats to the future of salmon on the Kenai Peninsula (i.e., invasive species, climate change, habitat loss, incompatible road and housing development, etc.) is a regular focus for multi-agency meetings such as the biennial Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership Science Symposium and Local Working Group meetings hosted by Kenai and Homer Soil & Water Conservation Districts; and

WHEREAS, both current and retired employees of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game charged with protecting fish habitat and maintaining sustainable yields of wild salmon say they lack the appropriate regulatory tools and necessary resources to achieve these goals; and

WHEREAS, the intent of the Stand for Salmon initiative (aka, Ballot Measure 1) is not to “stop development of every kind,” but to promote healthy watersheds and functional river systems capable of sustaining healthy fish populations as well as the myriad flora and fauna dependent upon said watersheds;

WHEREAS, current Alaska law is vague with regard to what constitutes fish habitat as well as the adequate protection of that habitat, and the Stand for Salmon initiative is an attempt to establish clear and specific, legal standards for salmon habitat and its protection; and

WHEREAS, if passed, such standards would be subject to continued review and modification by the Alaska legislature, and appropriate regulations would be developed by ADF&G,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE KENAI SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT,

that we are in support of the Stand for Salmon initiative.

Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District is a locally controlled, state-authorized organization that promotes sustainable agriculture, wetland and watershed protection and environmental conservation.

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