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Borough government should play role in salmon protection

Posted: September 25, 2013 - 5:50pm  |  Updated: September 26, 2013 - 8:01am

If the Kenai Peninsula Borough is to avoid the salmon mistakes of the Pacific Northwest, everyone needs to do their part. The banks of our rivers and lakes are critically important to fish. Where the water meets the land is where juvenile salmon spend the majority of their time in freshwater; millions of them are there now feeding, hiding from predators and living in the clean water we are fortunate to have. Without these basic elements our fish will not do well and future generations will not have the experiences we have now.

The borough’s part in keeping the fish coming back year after year is to set the minimum standards for what acceptable alteration to the stream banks. No longer is it acceptable to take the dozer and blade down to bare earth along the banks, no longer is it OK to use tires, junk cars or any other means of creative bank stabilization. On the Kenai River, this behavior came to an end in 1996 when the first bank regulations came into existence. Since then millions of public dollars have been spent cleaning up the banks and improving private property access.

It is irresponsible for candidates for assembly to suggest we should go back to the anything goes rules and waste the efforts of taxpayers who have subsidized the habitat improvements. In Soldotna there is a clear choice on this matter. Linda Murphy listened to hours of testimony from scientists and residents who say the habitat protection rules are working and need to be in place. Please give Ms. Murphy your vote and lets not go backwards with the former mayor whose interest seem to be tied more to his shortsighted real estate ventures over the future well-being of our community.

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