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Assembly considers boat motor resolution

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2007

A joint borough-city resolution to be considered by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at its Tuesday meeting asks the Alaska Board of Fisheries to adopt regulations to reduce hydrocarbon discharge at the mouth of the Kenai River.

The Kenai River Working Group, created earlier this year and composed of officials from the borough and the cities of Kenai and Soldotna, is working to improve the water quality of the Kenai River in an effort to keep the river off a federal list of impaired water bodies.

Meeting Nov. 15, the working group revised and got consensus on the wording of the resolution that now needs assembly approval and Assembly President Grace Merkes' signature.

In recent years, the Kenai River has been documented to exceed state water quality standards in the month of July, specifically concerning total aromatic hydrocarbons, or TAH, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene-BTX. According to the resolution, that led the state to recommend that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designate the river as impaired under the Clean Water Act.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources imposes regulations on Kenai River boaters within the boundaries of the Kenai River Special Management Area. However, the stretch from the Warren Ames Bridge to the mouth, which has similar hydrocarbon pollution problems, is outside those boundaries.

The Board of Fisheries has the authority to regulate fishing means and methods at the mouth.

The resolution asks the board to enact regulations that would prohibit dipnetting and personal-use fishing from onboard any motorized boat having a motor that is not four-stroke, direct-fuel-injection two-stroke, electric or diesel.

The resolution asks that those restrictions be in place by Jan. 1.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.



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