With great salmon comes great responsibility

  • Saturday, July 11, 2015 8:19pm
  • Opinion

We live in a community that prizes

its salmon runs. This past Tuesday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly proved that with its actions on an ordinance that would have rolled back habitat protections on anadromous waters.

Since the ordinance’s introduction in 2011 and subsequent challenges, amendments and rewrites since then, the argument has been framed as a conflict between the need for healthy salmon rearing habitat and the rights of property owners to develop their property as they see fit.

The habitat protection measure, among other things, establishes a 50-foot setback from the water’s edge in which development has been restricted.

The ordinance voted down by the Assembly on Tuesday would have scaled back the habitat protections from anadromous streams across the borough to just the Kenai River and Kasilof River watersheds.

In many ways, communities across the borough are at a crossroads. Subdivisions are growing as more and more people continue to come to the Kenai Peninsula for the quality of life it offers. Certainly, part of the attraction has always been fishing on pristine waters.

Continued development will have an impact. Doing things the way they’ve been done in the past is no longer an option. We as a community need to look forward, and we need to have a plan in place that guides future development in a way that preserves what we have now.

We agree with assembly member Blaine Gilman, who said he did a fair amount of research on riparian habitat before voting to keep the current anadromous waters protections in place.

“It’s not the right reaction to just go for one water body and say ‘oh, it’s distressed and we should put regulations on it.’ It should be a preventative measure,” Gilman told the Clarion. “It’s good for the health of the streams.”

Yes, there is still room for tweaking the regulations as to what is permitted within the 50-foot setback. There are things property owners should reasonably be able to do near the water’s edge, such as posting a “Private Property” sign, that just weren’t accounted for in the ordinance.

But the message we take from the assembly’s decision is that living on a body of water where salmon rear comes with a responsibility to be a good steward of the resource.

More in Opinion

This screenshot of an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation map of PFAS sites in Alaska shows that contamination from so-called “forever chemicals” is observable throughout the state. (Screenshot | Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation)
Opinion: More action must be taken on PFAS

Toxic forever chemicals present in high concentrations in Nikishka Bay Utility Water Supply

Logo courtesy of League of Women Voters.
League of Women Voters of Alaska: Join us in calling for campaign finance limits

The involvement of money in our elections is a huge barrier for everyday Alaskans who run for public office

Promise garden flowers are assembled for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Let’s keep momentum in the fight against Alzheimer’s

It’s time to reauthorize these bills to keep up our momentum in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and all other types of Dementia.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., questions Navy Adm. Lisa Franchetti during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 14 on Capitol Hill.
Opinion: Music to the ears of America’s adversaries

Russia and China have interest in seeing America’s democracy and standing in the world weakened

Dr. Sarah Spencer. (Photo by Maureen Todd and courtesy of Dr. Sarah Spencer)
Opinion: Alaskans needs better access to addiction treatment. Telehealth can help.

I have witnessed firsthand the struggles patients face in accessing addiction care

Former Gov. Frank Murkowski speaks on a range of subjects during an interview with the Juneau Empire in May 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Need for accounting and legislative oversight of the permanent fund

There is a growing threat to the permanent fund, and it is coming from the trustees themselves

(Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Imagine the cost of health and happiness if set by prescription drug companies

If you didn’t have heartburn before seeing the price, you will soon — and that requires another prescription

Mike Arnold testifies in opposition to the use of calcium chloride by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities on Kenai Peninsula roads during a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Peninsula Votes: Civic actions that carried weight

Watching an impressive display of testimony, going to an event, or one post, can help so many people learn about something they were not even aware of

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Helicopter fishing a detriment to fish and fishers

Proposal would prohibit helicopter transport for anglers on southern peninsula

The cover of the October 2023 edition of Alaska Economic Trends magazine, a product of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. (Image via department website)
Dunleavy administration’s muzzling of teacher pay report is troubling

Alaska Economic Trends is recognized both in Alaska and nationally as an essential tool for understanding Alaska’s unique economy

Image via weseeyou.community
5 tips for creating a culture of caring in our high schools

Our message: No matter what challenges you’re facing, we see you. We support you. And we’re here for you.

The Alaska State Capitol is photographed in Juneau, Alaska. (Clarise Larson/Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Vance’s bill misguided approach to Middle East crisis

In arguing for her legislation, Vance offers a simplistic, one-dimensional understanding of the conflict