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Anadromous habitat ordinance overreaching

Posted: May 23, 2013 - 2:34pm  |  Updated: May 24, 2013 - 9:05am

According to Webster’s:

Stealing: (1) To take another’s property dishonestly, esp. in a secret manner. (2) to take (3) to be a thief, to gain insidiously or artfully.

Private: Not open to OR controlled by the public.

Property: (1) ownership (2) something owned esp. Real estate.

This is what I feel has been done by the Borough Assembly Members on the Kenai Peninsula to the private property owners, who also pay their taxes.

I understand there is a fine line between protecting our Anadromous Fish Habitat and protecting our rights as homeowner’s and tax payers. I feel that the assembly crossed that fine line by passing Ordinance 2011-12 without reasonable notice to the property owner’s on the Kenai Peninsula.

There are already numerous laws governing Anadromous bodies of water on the Peninsula. Why the borough finds it necessary to take 50 feet of our private property is not right. Why do they assume that we are not responsible and law abiding property owners? Are they better stewards of our property than we are? I don’t think so. Some of the property owners on these streams and lake have lived here since the early 50s and have always been responsible landowners.

In 1996 the Ordinance was put into effect on the Kenai River. Since that time the king salmon runs are still in decline. I feel that the problem is not with our private streams and lakes. The problem is over harvesting by all user groups. Taking control of our private lakefront will not save the salmon.

To me it seems like the borough assemble members are acting like the politicians in Washington. They seem to pass more and more regulations, and keep taking more constitutionally protected rights away from the people. When will it stop, maybe at the next election? I also feel that the task force that was formed for this ordinance was totally biased in favor of this ordinance.

I feel this is an overreaching ordinance and should be repealed.

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laurasievert
60
Points
laurasievert 05/24/13 - 02:14 pm
2
2
Clearcuts, permanent

Clearcuts, permanent structures, lawns: anything that changes bank habitat leads to low salmon populations. The only reason we haven’t yet seen the massive extinctions of salmon runs that have occurred in the rest of the world is because of our relatively low population density.

Perhaps instead of seeing the 50 foot setback as ‘taking’ her land, maybe Ms Gretchell could come to see it as her way to help preserve salmon. I own property with anadromous waters, and I completely support the 50 foot setback. It’s time for property owners to stop blaming everyone else for low numbers of fish. I hope the Assembly has the political courage to pass this ordinance.

KMarx
181
Points
KMarx 05/24/13 - 09:47 pm
1
2
laurasievert

There is absolutely nothing keeping you from providing an easement to the Borough placing the identical restrictions contemplated by the ordinance on your property. What's keeping you? Put your money where your mouth is!

Redbrdee
401
Points
Redbrdee 05/25/13 - 01:05 am
2
1
Not Overreaching

Joyce Gretchell: The ordinance is not attacking you and your property. It protects the river from you using your property in such a way as to damage it and by extension, the rest of us. Get over it. Inform yourself as to what will happen to the fish and their associated economies (commercial, sports, dippers, subsistence educational, tourism, etc.). Why is it that whatever part of the economy you are in you think that you should get away with wrecking the ones involving so many other people. Nowhere do you get a constitutional right to wreck a river and its people. What community did you come from that you think it is alright to do this one so much harm?

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/26/13 - 08:16 am
3
2
Are You Kidding?

Joyce Gretchell states, " Why do they assume that we are not responsible and law abiding property owners? Are they better stewards of our property than we are? I don’t think so. Some of the property owners on these streams and lake have lived here since the early 50s and have always been responsible landowners."

Well, I'll tell you Joyce, if you have not been to the Lower 48 in the last 50 years, you need to go down and take a look at what private property owners have done to the river, stream and lake banks. The important habitat bank system along streams, rivers and lakes has been almost totally destroyed by "well meaning" private property owners who cut down all the trees and vegetation, plant a "nice looking lawn", keep the lawn fertilized and looking green.............just for a place to sit down in a lounge chair, have a beer and watch the water go by. In some areas, the bank habitat has been replaced with concrete and condominums.

Joyce, if you have not been out on the Kenai River in the last 10 years, you need to see the riverbank habitat destruction that has occurred by "well meaning" private property owners; both before and after the 1996 Borough Ordinance. It is an embarassement what is happening to this world famous river; even with the 1996 Ordinance.

Have you ever heard of anyone being arrested, fined, sued or otherwise detained for not adhering to the 1996 Borough Ordinance? I doubt it. Destruction of the riverbank habit has slowed, but still continues at an alarming pace.

Just drive into River Quest Subdivision on the lower Kenai River and look at the enoromous destruction that has occured there in the last 5 years. All of the bank vegetation has been removed and condos have been built within a few feet of the river.

Next door, at Casteaway Cove, the natural; floodplain has been almost totally destroyed in the last 10 years and cabins have been errected directly in the floodplain. Last year, one cabin was even built directly in the floodplain swamp on pilings in an area where river overflow levels are normally 1 - 3 feet deep throughout the summer.

All of this destruction has been done by "well meaning" property owners and approval of the River Center and the 1996 Ordinance.

I can't imagine what would happen without the 1996 Ordinance. It would be complete destruction of the vital riverbank ecosystem that is so important to aquatic life and the success of fish.

So you see, Joyce, government is needed to protect what little is left of fragile areas in the United States. Private property owners will not protect the interests of others who may enjoy to fish, hunt, watch birds or just enjoy seeing the beauty of Mother Nature.

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 05/26/13 - 10:42 am
4
2
Trust Fellow Alaskans

Sun 5/26/13 Yeah Right ! Trust Our Fellow Alaskans to Protect the environment & private property on the River Front.

You want to witness What Happens when No One is Watching ? Our Fellow Alaskans ride their 4 wheelers & dirt bikes where ever they damn well please. Destroy everything they touch & they actually believe that They have the Right to Do So just because they ride a 4-wheeler or dirt bike.
Witness the Mess left behind by Our Fellow Alaskans on Our Beaches after the Dip Net Season. They Trash Our Beaches then Just Walk Away then Whine about Government Interference.

You wanna Play in the Mud ? Then Go BUY your own property & Play in that MudHole.

SPW in Soldotna

bluffbunny
78
Points
bluffbunny 05/26/13 - 11:03 am
2
4
property theft issue (OOPS! Anadromous habitat ordinance )

All of you who believe this ordinance is fine, need to go back to step #1. The Constitution of the United States, which all must obey:
Amendment V..."NO PERSON shall be ..... deprived of life, liberty or PROPERTY, without DUE PROCESS OF LAW; nor shall PRIVATE PROPERTY BE TAKEN FOR PUBLIC USE, without JUST COMPENSATION."

The Borough Assembly did NOT follow due process nor compensate the owners for taking their PRIVATE PROPERTY. Therefore what they have done is not legal.

If this is allowed to continue, where will it end? Will the Assembly decide that cars, boats, RV's etc cannot be parked ON YOUR PROPERTY? Will they decide, for you, that you must paint your house one of their approved colors? Will they decree that you cannot fly an American flag on YOUR property? These are just SOME of the actions taken in other places, when the local government so decreed and the people were not allowed to comment.

The Assembly took similar control over the Kenai and Kasilof rivers some years ago, and there has not been an improvement in those fisheries, so there is strong doubt that this latest infringement on property rights will end up any different.

And WHO decided on that draconian fine system that is $300 A DAY? Sounds like OVERKILL to me! I suppose if you don't pay it, they will just seize ALL of your property.

Yes, there IS a problem with the fish returns, but is this ordinance the right way to solve it? Do the Assembly members have scientific facts to show their actions will change it? Are they experts in fish management? Are there no other agencies already studying this? Do we really NEED involving yet another costly agency looking into this? Didn't they even consider getting any public input before they took this action? Is this just another way to 'grow government' and provide jobs for special interests?

If they had bothered with DUE PROCESS and had held meetings with the public and affected property owners, they just might have found a better solution than this divisive and drastic action that has divided Borough residents. Amending it, OR allowing it to stand as it is, will mean yet another bureaucratic agency and its' expense, and potentially costly legal battles that we will all pay for and don't need.

This ordinance should be repealed and the Assembly should start over, INCLUDING the residents and property owners in meetings to discuss sensible decisions - not autocratic decrees made with no regard to the rights of the property owners.

Who knows, there might be better ideas out there that have not been considered, because the people were not included in any discussions.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/26/13 - 11:17 am
4
2
spwright-TRUST FELLOW ALASKANS-Are You Kidding?

Spwright, you could not have said it better.

Alaskans are some of the most enviornmentally destructive people I have ever witnessed in the United States. I have seen similar destruction in Mexico and 3rd world countries.

The children apparently are not taught any respect of other people's property; because their parents have no respect for other peoples property.

The 4-wheelers and snow machines go where ever they want and tear up other peoples private property. I wonder what would happen if we went to their front lawn and dug 3 foot deep trenches with a 4-wheel drive pickup and then just took off.

bluffbunny
78
Points
bluffbunny 05/30/13 - 12:26 am
0
1
Assembly over-reach

In the first place, the Assembly has not pointed out ONE instance that would justify such an over-reaching ordinance being created. If there are no major problems, why create all this cost and uproar?

The one goal they DO propose to meet, is a higher return of fish to the Borough. They have had these same powers over the MAJOR rivers - the Kenai and the Kasilof - for many years, and I don't see any improvement in the number of fish returning. What makes them think this ordinance will solve that problem?

The city of Seldovia complained and threatened a lawsuit and they were exempted from this ordinance. I believe other MAJOR property owners, the native corporations, are exempted. Would bet all Federal and State government lands are exempted. Looks like it's just the little guys, individual property owners, who will feel the greatest impact.

Question is: with all these exemptions, how can this ordinance ever work? How can you prove any results, when so many groups do not have to comply?

There are several other agencies who claim the same powers and duties that THIS ordinance proposes to take, why not let THEM do it and save the Borough taxpayers the cost and responsibilities?

Time to repeal this ordinance and start over.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/30/13 - 06:36 am
1
1
Bluffbunny are you kidding?

Bluffbunny are you kidding me....."In the first place, the Assembly has not pointed out ONE instance that would justify such an over-reaching ordinance being created." Obviously, you have not vistied the Kenai River in the last few years? Far reaching destruction of the salmon habitat continues even with the 1996 Borough Ordinance. No one is ever fined or arrested for violating the Ordinance. I can't imangine what would be left of the riverbank habitat without the Ordinance.

It is obvious that private property owners in Alaska will not protect the fragile riverbank. There is no question about that.

Everyone agrees that the fragile riverbank area above the high waterline needs to be protected.Who do you propose to provide that protection, Bluffbunny?

Bluffbunny says "There are several other agencies who claim the same powers and duties that THIS ordinance proposes to take, why not let THEM do it and save the Borough taxpayers the cost and responsibilities?" Can you name these agencies Bluffbunny? I would be interested to know who they are.

Allen
636
Points
Allen 05/31/13 - 04:52 pm
3
0
Joyce Gretchell and

Joyce Gretchell and Bluffbunny repeat the talking points of the anti-ordinance folks, but their arguments are flawed.

1. The constitution prohibits TAKING land, but regulating it is OK. Gretchell and Bluffbunny can still use their water front lots under the anadromous stream ordinance, so the Borough has not TAKEN this property.

2. The Borough did give notice of the anadromous stream ordinance. Certainly not the absolute best notice, but it was published at least twice in the local newspaper.

3. "Numerous laws governing Anadromous bodies of water on the Peninsula." Nonsense. There are NO Alaska laws that protect the Kenai and other rivers from waterfront property development that destroys salmon habitat, other than the Borough ordinance.

4. Both Gretchell and Bluffbunny try to confuse people by comparing king salmon returns with the goal of the ordinance. The goal of the ordinance is to reduce habitat degradation. That helps salmon and other fish complete their spawning cycles while they are in the rivers and creeks. However, the Borough has no control over what happens to the fish once they leave those rivers and creeks.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 06/02/13 - 04:02 pm
0
1
Bluffbunny

Joyce you should be happy the borough doesn't try to take 300 feet from the high water line. Regarding what will they will try to do next; decide that our cars, boat, RV's cannot be parked on our property? You mean like they forced people on the Kenai River with 50 horse engines to sell them for next to nothing and then buy a 35 horse? Then they reversed and told them to go out and buy another new 50 horse because it was now okay again? Do you have any idea how much money these people lost because of this government stupidity? You talk about the taking of property? These government officials feel that they can do ANYTHING and they do not care if you sue them. They have your tax dollars to fight you with in court so go ahead and try to fight them. GOOD LUCK!

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 06/02/13 - 06:29 pm
1
0
Kenai123 is right!

Kenai123 is right about big government and I am glad we have the government to protect what little natural resourcres we have left.

I just hope the EPA stops the Pebble Mine project. What an abortion that is over there in one of the most beautiful areas left in Alaska.

It is over population people!!! Some people here in Alaska just blop 'em out as fast as they can to get another dividend check.

Hopefully, the dividend checks will dry up soon,

kenaibear2001
119
Points
kenaibear2001 06/03/13 - 08:51 pm
2
1
Wow, so many Alaskans .......

.......ignorant about agenda 21. Educate yourself. It's not about the fish.

High water, and ice does way more damage. Have watched the ice blocks strip the banks to the gravel.

Been on the River 30 years, sit on the river bank.....yep...in the weeds 50 feet back....and watch the guides race back and forth with loaded boats 10 feet from the banks.

The real problem is we all know no one will go after guides, or Mother Nature....that leaves the property owner.

beaverlooper
3072
Points
beaverlooper 06/04/13 - 08:47 am
2
0
come on

Ok 123 ,time for your spiel about how the Kenai shouldn't have a row only fishery so the bank isn't harmed by boat wakes . I'll be interested in seeing how you blame this kind of thing on the saltwater commercial guys.

wilsonro
100
Points
wilsonro 06/05/13 - 09:25 am
0
1
Fish habitat

All the above for total government control need to pack their bags and move out of the country. I agree totally with Bluff Bunny. When the government gets to the point where they make all the decisions for us we lose the spirit that built this country. I own lake property on one of the lakes affected by this ordinance, which is 15 plus miles from the Kenai River. I want to know what the heck my 50ft of Lake Front has to do with the salmon runs on the Kenai River! I feel being a resident of the Kenai Peninsula for my entire 42 years of life and fifth generation Alaskan I want the best for the Kenai and the State of Alaska. I see nothing the local and State government has put in place that has helped salmon returns. My joy in life is commercial fishing I have been around it all my life, when I was a kid that’s all I wanted to do, but realized that there was no real future in it with the way it was starting to be regulated. I instead started a career in the oil field where I have been making a living for 20 years, now the State of Alaska is on the verge of screwing it up. I started fishing again in 2007 with my family, definitely not a get rich deal, more a family thing; my oil field job supports my Commercial fishing. So long story short, get the local tax paying residence involved in the decision making process, there are a lot of really talented people on the peninsula that could come up with a good resolution. I don’t believe just because you have a Master’s Degree in Biology, political science, Law or whatever else you know best.

SPWRIGHT: Don't compare me to irresponsible people tearing up the landscape.

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