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Geography plays into changes

Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2006

The nature of Region II geography required writing several proposed classifications of water bodies and buffer zone sizes into House Bill 420 and its companion, Senate Bill 262.

Basically, there are four types of zones in Region II, explained Marty Freeman, with the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Type II-A includes large, dynamic non-glacial rivers such as the Anchor River’s lower reaches where the river is at least 50 feet wide, and Type II-B, which are dynamic, glacial rivers such as the Matanuska, Copper and Susitna rivers.

All those rivers get the 150-foot no-cut buffer, which widens to 225 feet on actively eroding outer bends not constrained by terraces on Type II-A rivers, and to 325 feet on those bends on Type II-B rivers.

The Kenai, Kasilof, Moose and Swanson rivers, along with Crooked and Stariski creeks, as well as the lake fork of the Crescent River on Cook Inlet’s west side all classify as Type II-C water bodies, and would get 100-foot buffers, essentially the same as under current law expect that now the buffers would apply on private land as well as public land, Freeman said.

Type II-C’s are considered smaller dynamic, non-glacial streams and rivers with stable channels and lakes. The Kenai River, while glacier fed, acts like a non-glacier river because of large lakes in its course that act like settling ponds, she said.

Finally, Type II-D includes small, nonglacial streams less than three-feet wide. Those would require a 50-foot buffer, a reduction from the current 100 feet.

“They’re typically unnamed and unmapped,” Freeman said. “Scientists said we have to protect them from sediment, but it doesn’t take 100 feet to do that.”



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