Peace on Earth, good will to fish

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Friday, December 22, 2006

It is always important to enter the new year with some interesting facts. There has been a lot of opposition to the 50hp proposal. Eight years ago, a state parks survey stated the Kenai River was overcrowded. Three years ago sportfish division hired an Outside consulting firm for $40,000 that arrived at the same conclusion.

The Board of Fish had a no net loss of habitat mandate for the Kenai River that was mysteriously abandoned. In 2000, Kelly Hepler, the head of sportfish division diverted $50,000 of wake study funds to hold LAMP (local area management plans) meetings for halibut, a federal species.

Since state parks failed to take the lead on protective regulations inside a park, Kenai River Special Management Area was created. Since KRSMA is advisory in nature and the proverbial toothless hound, a pro-active group called the Kenai Watershed Forum began testing the river.

After years of reporting excessive hydrocarbon levels the river is labeled impaired. Enter the EPA. Talk about poking a bee hive. State parks can still protect the river if they decide to.

So with this partial quote, “including monstrous chinook that reach over 100 pounds”, guess the river.

Wrong. Not the Kenai but the Elwha on the northern coast of Washington state. That river was damned by apathy and avarice. State parks can protect the river but not by ignoring their own studies.

John McCombs


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