Borough assembly considers extending river protections

Posted: Tuesday, May 09, 2000

KENAI (AP) -- The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is considering extending protections now applied to the Kenai River to more than a dozen other rivers.

Under the pending ordinance, more than a dozen rivers, including the Swanson, Kasilof, Ninilchik and Anchor rivers, Deep and Stariski creeks and Kenai River tributaries such as Soldotna Creek and the Moose, Swanson, Trail and Funny rivers, would be added to the list of protected rivers.

The rules ban most building, clearing, excavation and commercial use within 50 feet of the Kenai River, and restrict logging and fuel tank installations within the broader river flood plain.

Homer assembly member Drew Scalzi said the state regulates development within rivers but there are few restrictions on development of riverbanks.

''The first-core tributaries and other rivers like the Kasilof, Ninilchik and Anchor are in line for future development. It's easier to put restrictions in place before development occurs than after,'' Scalzi said.

Scalzi said there is viable salmon habitat in the North Fork, and the borough planning department, the borough planning commission and the Anchor Point Advisory Planning Commission favor its protection.

The assembly voted unanimously last week to add it to the proposed ordinance.

The amended ordinance comes up for a final hearing during the assembly's May 16 meeting in Soldotna.

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