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Thread: KRSMA AB Update

  1. #1

    Default KRSMA AB Update

    Interesting meeting at the KRSMA AB last night.

    Sounds like tons of people are sending in opposition about subsistence gillnets in the
    rivers. The initiative folks are spinning that into an opposition to only setnets since those are the only nets anyone opposes right now...

    Mary King's appearance at the last meeting was referenced. The chair of the habitat committee kept good notes. It sounded like an interesting meeting and it has started some good discussion.

    There was broad support for both boater education and PFD requirements. There was also pretty broad support for discussions of limits on both commercial activity and private use. Despite low king returns, river use continues to explode. There is genuine concern of "implosion", especially when kings come back. People and boats everywhere. Lots of issues related to powerboat transport, with the PU fishery and the upper river Sockeye bank fishery. Transportation in a boat is harder to regulate than fishing from a boat.

    Here is a link to participation/harvest results for the Kenai. I thought an excel graph on yearly river use would tell a sweet tail, but it turns out that I have a life and will not do that any time soon, so maybe someone else will appreciate the info:

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/sportfishingsurvey/

    Everyone seemed to support the sockeye stamp.

    Everyone seemed fairly understanding of the issues facing the river. Exploding use and a political quagmire of regulation and legislation. Limiting anything is very tricky legally speaking.

    Mr. Johnson had drafted a resolution to support Mr. Ruffner as a nomination to board of fish, but later, at the request of the chairman, changed that into a motion to support one of the 5 applicants from Southcentral Alaska to the board of fish. That motion passed as there was general agreement that Cook Inlet issues are complex, contentious, and easily misunderstood, and having someone on the board who understood them would be beneficial. Habitat and scientific understanding was also mentioned. Regardless, reps from the guide association and sportfishing association did not support endorsing a candidate due to concerns over process, bylaws, and worries of meddling. Navarre's chief of staff Mr. Ostrander spoke in strong support for Mr. Ruffner as a candidate for board of fish, as did many other people. A member of both the guide association and the KRSMA board went so far as to say that if by some chance Mr. Ruffner were appointed by the governor, he would not "say anything bad about him". How nice. I left before they ended, but I believe the end result was to agree to discuss the issue again on Friday, March 20th at 5:30pm.

    Mr. Kramer introduced a proposal to limit guides. He feels that 250 guides on the lower Kenai is a solid number, and we will be there within a couple years at the rate things are going. Here's a link to his proposal:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...%20Concept.pdf

    Apparently it didn't receive the warmest of welcomes at the guide advisory committee, but I don't think there was a large attendance since the guide academy was this week and the same day I think. Maybe the lights weren't turned up real bright during this months advisory meeting..

    It was discussed at length in the river use committee I attended, and even supported by some guides both there and at the board meeting. Apparently KRSMA rules say that guide activity must be limited before private activity, and even they realize that there are way too many people on our river. The question came up about how other places have dealt with these issues. Limiting guides is a no-brainer, as is limiting use, and IMO modifying behavior to have less impact, which can actually allow more use. I'm no traffic planner, but if you have a two lane street that is congested, turning it into a one way street if possible seems like a viable option if you respect public access. Especially when it is downhill and you have, uhm, smog problems.

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    I actually believe KRSMA should not endorse anyone or even discuss the candidates. First, it is not fair unless the KRSMA board interviews every candidate with the same questions and has criteria for those discussions. Next, it is not the job of the KRSMA to advise the Gov on BOF matters. Their job is to advise the DNR on KRSMA matters that DNR controls. This is typical of Boards. They reach outside their authority because they exist. They forget they are advisory to one agency. If anyone was going to make a recommendation it would be the advisory committee and they really should not either as they are advisory to the BOF not the Governor.

    Next the City and KPB representatives if this was to happen should go back to their governments and ask for public hearings on what the City or KPB position would be. I bet their human resource people would be nervous about their interviewing candidates. Just like hiring there are rules to follow.

    I know some will argue that BOF members impact the Kenai River. Yes they do but KRSMA is not advisory to anyone but DNR and therefore should be only directing their comments to DNR for DNR to take a position. DNR is not asked to comment on BOF candidates. I know the bylaws of the KRSMA Board are vague enough to allow them to comment but they wrote the bylaws. If this is part of their job then they should be commenting on fishing proposals that impact the BOF.

    If the timeline is right their actions will be mute as the Gov will announce his selection and this discussion will be over.

    One final note. Enstar is building a pipeline across the Kenai Flats wetlands and crossing DNR property and drilling under the river. If anyone has gone down there and watched they are messing up valuable wetlands. They waited on permits and instead of construction in mid-winter they are now pushing the timeline. The Corp gave them a permit to June 15 - major bird migrations take place in April and May and if they are out there they will have a significant impact on these resources. Maybe the KRSMA should be commenting to DNR about this project. If they did it was sure not covered by anyone and the permits were issued without measures that could have protected habitat more. The KRSMA is about fish and wildlife but the KRSMA Board never discusses wildlife - too many fisherman on the Board.

    Maybe they should make a recommendation on turbidity issues in the river instead of ignoring them. Maybe they should talk about bank degradation because of the increasing sockeye fishery, maybe they should talk about a new approach to river traffic and not in the context of limiting guides but overall river use (this may happen thanks to Dwight Kramer). There are lots issues DNR should be advised on and yet the KRSMA Board has refused to involve themselves on these critical subjects but instead take time and energy to talk about BOF fish candidates and allocation driven agendas.

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    Excellent post nerka, very informative.


    http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/krsma/krsmaindex.htm

    Here is a link explaining the purpose of the krsma, no where does it state the krsma has any role in advising the governor, or any one else on bof membership qualifications. Guess who the several of the krsma board members are? Yep, you guessed it, the same corrupt sleeve balls that have their hand in several other boards.
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

  4. #4

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    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...aws%202009.pdf

    This is the copy of bylaws I could find. I don't think they've changed except for the part about the nomination process.

    I don't think them supporting someone like Ruffner is a big deal. The KRSMA board should not regularly involve itself in BOF politics, but this is a local board who's job is to advise the state (DNR and the Gov, per their bylaws) on issues pertaining to the Kenai River - specifically habitat and use. The Kenai has issues, and the BOF has not helped much lately in that regard. These people donate their time, and do not have to take a vote with the people every time they voice an opinion. Nor do public reps who show. They represent their municipalities. But you are right, plenty more they could be working on. That's why I wish they would have supported him and moved on, but oh well.

    They are having much better discussion about important issues than they were a year ago. That's a start. KRSA no longer has an iron grip on this board, and it's apparent. Both by the discussion and their reps' body language at the meeting. Yes the apostrophe is in the right place. I'm hopeful.

    I think it is becoming more and more apparent that the current pattern of use on the Kenai is unsustainable. Private use certainly needs to be limited or modified. Personally, I'd like to see limits on guiding fishing and hunting statewide, similar to comm fishing. So many permits per area as determined by CGEC, register in an area (or multiple if allowed) and guide there. Maybe I'm crazy or wrong, just an opinion. Either way, that's not going to happen any time soon.

    In the mean time it makes sense to limit guides on the Kenai. If we can't limit commercial harvest of wildlife in a state park, what's the point?

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    Just received an email that Director Ben Ellis has ruled that this action violates the by-laws. While I think this is probably correct I wonder if Mr. Ellis would have ruled this way for a candidate KRSA wants. Mr. Ellis has been anything but supportive of KRSA agenda of no action on habitat issues on the Kenai, has not made one effort to change the status quo, and is of course a past director of KRSA. In fact, he went out to meals more with KRSA than his past Superintendent of Parks here on the Kenai

    But here is the section that I assume is driving this decision:

    To advise the Governor of the State of Alaska and the Commissioner of the Department of NaturalResources on issues relating to the Kenai River watershed other than matters related to fisheriesallocation;

    A BOF member is all about allocation so the KRSMA should not be involved.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    A BOF member is all about allocation so the KRSMA should not be involved.
    Those allocation decisions should maintain "no net loss" of habitat per law, and that has not happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Those allocation decisions should maintain "no net loss" of habitat per law, and that has not happened.
    If you read the by-laws and apply them to the KRSMA board they should be talking about habitat for 80% of their meetings. They should be figuring out all types of options for controlling use and habitat degradation, should be pushing for DEC to do something about turbidity, should be looking at conservation zones along the river, should be commenting on development in the Kenai Flats, should be looking at suggesting the Gov implement parts of the comprehensive plan but no. It is about protecting one user group and some home owners along the river.

  8. #8

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    Glad to see we are finally talking about limiting guides again. It has to be done at some point. This river, in fact no river, can take the kind of pressure we are putting on the Kenai. First, the amount of guides and guide activity ran a lot of locals out of the King fishery because it just became too crowded and competitive and now they are doing the same thing in their zeal to turn profits in the Red, Silver and Rainbow fisheries. We have to start someplace if we are ever going to have a chance at getting back to any concept of a quality of experience, or is it to late? Have we turned a corner where commercial profits off the river's resources are the driving factor amongst the fishermen and the Agencies as well? The river right now is a sad state of affairs for those of us that knew it before.

    First, lets start by capping the guide industry and then everyone else too if need be. I'm ready to take a hit. If we can't limit the guides lets reduce the pressure on the river and the guide / unguided conflict by splitting up the days of use. Monday's, drift boats only on the river for both guided and unguided (no powerboat use what so ever), Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, only guide boats are allowed on the river, and Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, only private boats can be on the river. No exceptions... no outfitting ferrying or any other boat use other that what is allowed on those days. Probably not the answer to all problems but an end to a lot of them for sure and easier on the river and the resources. Oh yeah, and we have to find a way to make sure the personal use boats always have to stay below the Warren Ames Bridge. That whole thing is jamming up our lower river boat launches making boating on the lower river a real mess. It has to be stopped. Nothing against the PU fishery but they need to stay in the PU area.

  9. #9

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    Nerka, I know I have no right to criticize cynicism, but there are some people trying to do good things on the KRSMA board. You should attend if you don't see that.

    Pacman, all ideas worth exploring. Important that people can discuss these issues without being labeled "guide haters" or anti-PU/private fishermen. I think it might be legally challenging to pass a law saying guide boats have access when others don't (or vice versa for that matter), but who knows. As for the PU boats - I think the boat element should simply be eliminated from the PU fishery. Perhaps a permit for elderly or disabled or something, but the ever expanding PU boat fishery poses a lot of problems and is not needed to harvest fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Nerka, I know I have no right to criticize cynicism, but there are some people trying to do good things on the KRSMA board. You should attend if you don't see that.

    Pacman, all ideas worth exploring. Important that people can discuss these issues without being labeled "guide haters" or anti-PU/private fishermen. I think it might be legally challenging to pass a law saying guide boats have access when others don't (or vice versa for that matter), but who knows. As for the PU boats - I think the boat element should simply be eliminated from the PU fishery. Perhaps a permit for elderly or disabled or something, but the ever expanding PU boat fishery poses a lot of problems and is not needed to harvest fish.
    I was on the habitat committee of the KRSMA for more than two years, was around at the start of it and worked to make it work from my position in ADF&g, put my name in twice to serve on the Board after retirement and was rejected by political considerations ( was not appointed over a shcool teacher who never showed up to one meeting until she was appointed and knew nothing about the issues but we know what group wanted that), and the list goes on. There have been good people trying to do things but the votes do not favor them and the DNR is a major part of the problem.

    So smithtb - tell we what they have done recently for habitat of the Kenai River? Not just talk about it or put it off to another meeting. Actually did something concrete and please do not reference hydrocarbons as they did nothing on that issue. It was the Kenai Watershed Forum. Bank closures were from ADF&G and so what have they done in the last three years that you have been involved attending meetings that I have missed.

    When the Board refused to even discuss turbidity issues and DEC ran from it like a little kid and still are doing nothing today even with increased boat traffic due to the PU fishery expansion I am going to remain critical of an organization set up to protect this river and have over two decades contributed to its downfall.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    I was on the habitat committee of the KRSMA for more than two years, was around at the start of it and worked to make it work from my position in ADF&g, put my name in twice to serve on the Board after retirement and was rejected by political considerations ( was not appointed over a shcool teacher who never showed up to one meeting until she was appointed and knew nothing about the issues but we know what group wanted that), and the list goes on. There have been good people trying to do things but the votes do not favor them and the DNR is a major part of the problem.

    So smithtb - tell we what they have done recently for habitat of the Kenai River? Not just talk about it or put it off to another meeting. Actually did something concrete and please do not reference hydrocarbons as they did nothing on that issue. It was the Kenai Watershed Forum. Bank closures were from ADF&G and so what have they done in the last three years that you have been involved attending meetings that I have missed.

    When the Board refused to even discuss turbidity issues and DEC ran from it like a little kid and still are doing nothing today even with increased boat traffic due to the PU fishery expansion I am going to remain critical of an organization set up to protect this river and have over two decades contributed to its downfall.
    I have already spent a considerable amount of time summarizing what they have done, are doing, and are trying/planning to do.

    There are still plenty of the usual suspects there, stalling any moves towards protecting our river, just like the director of Parks and others have done. There are also plenty of well-meaning people who are trying to make a difference. You should support their efforts, even if it's not exactly how you might do it or would like to see it done. For that, you need to participate and offer solutions.

    I don't fault you for being critical of that board. I have watched for several years, applied and been rejected for KRSA friendly candidates, and have been frustrated at their lack of action in the past. I started the thread to let everyone know what they are working on, and to start some discussion on important issues, like river use and guide limits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    I have already spent a considerable amount of time summarizing what they have done, are doing, and are trying/planning to do.

    There are still plenty of the usual suspects there, stalling any moves towards protecting our river, just like the director of Parks and others have done. There are also plenty of well-meaning people who are trying to make a difference. You should support their efforts, even if it's not exactly how you might do it or would like to see it done. For that, you need to participate and offer solutions.

    I don't fault you for being critical of that board. I have watched for several years, applied and been rejected for KRSA friendly candidates, and have been frustrated at their lack of action in the past. I started the thread to let everyone know what they are working on, and to start some discussion on important issues, like river use and guide limits.
    Good luck. I am going to spend my time working on things that actually accomplish something - like the buffer zone regulations that actually did something for stream habitat. Or developing more wildlife watching programs so people will appreciate what we have and fight to protect it. These people do not always fish but they care a lot about the environment.

    I wish Dwight Kramer and his efforts all the best and hope he can move DNR to something productive. Pacman comments on limiting all users has merit and probably has to be done to get any limits on guides. However, the guide limit is more about allocation between sport fishing types than habitat protection. Overall reduction in boats and bank erosion and turbidity is about habitat protection. Trying to control the PU boat traffic is again more a social issue except for the turbidity impacts but no one is trying to solve that issue right now.

    Eveyone got real excited about a single gill net in the river and yet no one is pushing for closure of the first four miles at the outlet of Skilak Lake because of its unique value to the system.

    So go forth and give it a try smithtb - I wish you better success than the last two decades of others trying who were also good people who cared.

    Have you ever wondered why the major environmental groups, including the Kenai Watershed Forum, have not participated in habitat discussions and solutions on the Kenai? They tried and gave up as there was more and better projects that could be achieved in other places. Fighting the KPB citizens on private property rights and no desire for land use planning was a waste of time. I give Cook Inlet Keepers a lot of credit but even they do not involve themselves with the Kenai River.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Just received an email that Director Ben Ellis has ruled that this action violates the by-laws. While I think this is probably correct I wonder if Mr. Ellis would have ruled this way for a candidate KRSA wants. Mr. Ellis has been anything but supportive of KRSA agenda of no action on habitat issues on the Kenai, has not made one effort to change the status quo, and is of course a past director of KRSA. In fact, he went out to meals more with KRSA than his past Superintendent of Parks here on the Kenai

    But here is the section that I assume is driving this decision:

    To advise the Governor of the State of Alaska and the Commissioner of the Department of NaturalResources on issues relating to the Kenai River watershed other than matters related to fisheries allocation;

    A BOF member is all about allocation so the KRSMA should not be involved.
    I heard the same, although if I'm not mistaken, this board is simply an advisory board. I would think if the board agreed that it was within their bylaws, and voted to support someone, that is their right. It's not like the state must heed their recommendations. Nevertheless, plenty else they can be working on, and the KRSA crew already made this into a big enough deal. Time to move on. Ruffner has broad support from nearly everyone else in our area (and many elsewhere) from what I've seen. It's up to the Gov now to make his decision.

    So very interesting and telling that KRSA and KRPGA will not support any candidate from the Kenai (although I think they might support a person from Seward who applied, just reading between the lines), and they will not support the BOF meeting here.

    My take is that in their mind, the less our decision makers know about UCI, the better. They are confident they can lobby their story better than anyone else, whether it is true or not.

    It was entertaining to watch them squirm at the KRSMA meeting though

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    If you're looking for the limits of KRSA's authority, specifically whether they have the authority to recommend folks to other Boards (e.g., BoF), the by-laws are the wrong place to look. Review the authorizing legislation that created KRSA. It was likely created by the State Legislature. Whatever the State Legislature approved provides the side boards to KRSA'S authority. The by-laws are created by KRSA itself to ensure it makes decisions within it's given authority. But KRSA itself cannot decide where it's authority begins and ends. Only the State legislature can do that. I'm presuming the Alaska State Legislature operates similar to all the other 49 State legislatures.

    Also, I won't quibble with TB, but KSRA does not have "rights" (second sentence above). It has authority. And that authority is limited to what the Legislature provided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    If you're looking for the limits of KRSA's authority, specifically whether they have the authority to recommend folks to other Boards (e.g., BoF), the by-laws are the wrong place to look. Review the authorizing legislation that created KRSA. It was likely created by the State Legislature. Whatever the State Legislature approved provides the side boards to KRSA'S authority. The by-laws are created by KRSA itself to ensure it makes decisions within it's given authority. But KRSA itself cannot decide where it's authority begins and ends. Only the State legislature can do that. I'm presuming the Alaska State Legislature operates similar to all the other 49 State legislatures.

    Also, I won't quibble with TB, but KSRA does not have "rights" (second sentence above). It has authority. And that authority is limited to what the Legislature provided.
    This thread is about krsma, not krsa.....
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    I am going to spend my time working on things that actually accomplish something - like the buffer zone regulations that actually did something for stream habitat.
    Buffer zones and land use regulations for the Kenai River have existed for almost 20 years (Ordinance 96-06). As for the new Anadromous Ordinance; I don't see much accomplished, other than taking an existing habitat protection ordinance intended specifically for the Kenai River, adding more restrictions to it, and using a broad brush to impose it on the entire 16,000 square miles of KPB - 800 waters which are mostly inaccessible, uninhabited, undevelopable, and on State and Federal regulated lands. While efforts have created an entire new bureaucracy program, and taken existing rights from property owners, I haven't seen any evidence they have saved even one more salmon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Fighting the KPB citizens on private property rights and no desire for land use planning was a waste of time.
    Actually, public input regarding their own property rights and land use is how the process works. It's unfortunate you see that as a waste of time, or land use other than the kind you want, as wrong.

    At least I can agree with your general take on KRSMA and DNR. They are in large part responsible for the failures of the Kenai River. They have been easily influenced for far too long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    This thread is about krsma, not krsa.....
    My apologies. I got my acronyms mixed up. I meant KRSMA, not KRSA. Clearly, what I wrote cannot be applied to a private organization.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    My apologies. I got my acronyms mixed up. I meant KRSMA, not KRSA. Clearly, what I wrote cannot be applied to a private organization.
    The sad thing is no matter what the acronym is, most members are the same, pushing the same agenda
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    This thread is about krsma, not krsa.....
    Easily confused, seeing as KRSA advertises their logo on AK Parks/KRSMA brochures...

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Easily confused, seeing as KRSA advertises their logo on AK Parks/KRSMA brochures...
    What's worse is that some of us have asked KRSMA/Parks to remove KRSA's logo from their brochures...and nothing was done. It's pretty clear that the agencies running our fishery are connected with special interests...and our fishery shows it.

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