Student plans races to support environment

Many of the residents of the Kenai Peninsula are unaware of the harmful effects Reed Canary Grass has on our salmon population. This invasive species grows in small salmon streams, like Beaver Creek. It thrives in waterlogged soil or any area that receives at least 24 inches of rainfall per year. When Reed Canary Grass isn't controlled, it prevents salmon from reaching their spawning destination, so they must lay their eggs elsewhere. If this grass is allowed to continue multiplying, salmon will be restricted to smaller and smaller spawning areas.

To help control Reed Canary Grass and minimize its destructive effects on our fisheries, I intend to host races at Tsalteshi Trails to educate the public and provide the Kenai Watershed Forum with the necessary funds to purchase tarps, buy gas for digging machines, and hire workers to combat the weed. I have organized five races, called the Salmon Run Series, to occur every Wednesday at 6 p.m. beginning July 11 and continuing to Aug. 8. Each 5-kilometer race will cost the participants a $10 entry fee. I will change the race course every week so people can familiarize themselves with the trails. The races will be environmentally friendly: registration forms will be printed on eco-paper; water will be offered in biodegradable, compostable, and non-toxic sugarcane cups; and participants will write their numbers on their hands to eliminate the usage of bibs.

It's for a great cause, and it will encourage people to exercise and spend time outdoors. Hope to see you there!

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