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Experienced biologists weren’t asked to KRSA meeting

Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Recently, Kenai River Sport Fishing Association (KRSA) held a meeting to define research priorities for the Kenai River. The purpose of that meeting was to set research priorities for the spending of millions of federal and state tax dollars directed to KRSA by Ted Stevens. The executive director, Mr. Ricky Gease, stated that KRSA was bringing together land use managers and research personnel familiar with the Kenai River to set these research goals.

State and federal agency personnel attended the meeting but the truth is that the most experienced research and management personnel were not invited to the meeting.

Located in our local community are 12 retired fisher biologists with over 200 years of combined research experience on the Kenai River. None were asked to attend the meeting or participate in setting the priorities. These biologists are from federal and state employment. Their expertise is focused on the fish species of the Kenai River and their habitat.

There biologist are: Larry Larson, Paul Ruesch, Dave Athons, Sid Logon, Steve Hammarstrom, Larry Van Ray, Dave Nelson, Jack Dean, Bruce King, Loren Flagg, Jay Carlon, and myself.

I must congratulate KRSA for pulling off this deception in the public forum. They invited a list of personnel that looks good on paper but who have limited knowledge of the ecology of the Kenai River. In fact, it has been reported that during the meeting a question was asked where sockeye salmon spawn in the Kenai River — silence followed then some limited discussion. I can assure the public anyone of the people listed above could answer this basic question.

What is just as disturbing is that the agency personnel present, especially from the Department of Fish and Game, never insisted on the above personnel being asked to join the discussion.

When millions of federal and state tax dollars will be spent on Kenai River studies one would think one would want the most experienced people present — unless of course there are agendas at play and knowledge is really not being sought. The study list produced reflects that lack of knowledge and

historical perspective but that discussion is for another time.

Ken Tarbox

Soldotna



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