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Thread: Kenai listed as impaired for turbidity

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Perhaps you found a fatal flaw in the baseline data that several rounds of peer review missed. Even still, throw all the baseline data out the window and compare the night time readings to the daytime readings and the difference is pretty obvious.

    People are right to be nervous that folks seeking a drift-only river will use this study to further their cause. Exactly why I think your user group is foolish to dispute this study with such voracity when the time could be spent finding simple solutions which would make the river a better place to go fishing, and completely deflate any drift-only attempt. It's super frustrating to watch nothing get accomplished because of extremists on both sides. The failure to admit that at some point we're going to have to deal with crowding on the river only lends credence to any drift only push. Such ignorance in the face of compelling data is what pushes reasonable people into thinking that extraordinary measures are needed. IMO.

    If common sense and scientific studies tell us that too many boats on the river cause issues for those using the river, including the reason the vast majority of people use the river...the fish, then changes are in order. With all its flaws there is already a system in place in this state that deals with people who make money from catching fish, the commercial fishing limited entry permit system. Why couldn't, or more appropriately why shouldn't, we have a commercial fishing limited entry permit for commercial fishermen who guide on an over crowded river?
    "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle." - G.I. Joe

  2. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Perhaps you found a fatal flaw in the baseline data that several rounds of peer review missed. Even still, throw all the baseline data out the window and compare the night time readings to the daytime readings and the difference is pretty obvious.

    People are right to be nervous that folks seeking a drift-only river will use this study to further their cause. Exactly why I think your user group is foolish to dispute this study with such voracity when the time could be spent finding simple solutions which would make the river a better place to go fishing, and completely deflate any drift-only attempt. It's super frustrating to watch nothing get accomplished because of extremists on both sides. The failure to admit that at some point we're going to have to deal with crowding on the river only lends credence to any drift only push. Such ignorance in the face of compelling data is what pushes reasonable people into thinking that extraordinary measures are needed. IMO.
    Yukon is like Joe Conner in trying to keep the status quo for and as a guide one can only conclude that is for gain for the guide industry. That attitude has driven this river into the ground over the last few decades. In the 1980's the Special Management Area was created to deal with use patterns causing habitat damage,erosion of private property, and user conflicts because it was unacceptable then for the river and users. Today after three decades if anyone thinks the river is better off they are just lying to themselves. Habitat damage includes hydrocarbons, turbidity, and erosion which is still taking place along the majority of the river. Bank damage is again an issue with the increase in guided sockeye fisheries and personal use fisheries using upriver launch sites. Use patterns have driven people off the river because of the guide pressure and their attitude that they have some special right to the river. So when I see Yukon trying to use this issue to put motives on people concerned about the health of the river I call bs. More bs from a group of guides who care only about short term gain. Attacking a study and saying fatal flaw and then say it is only possible is really bs. So is it a fatal flaw or not. You made the claim Yukon and are pushing it but of course the agencies, peer reviewers, and authors of the study did not call it a fatal flaw. You should be ashamed of making this false claim and then trying to back off from it in the same post. Do you homework and put forward the scientific reason it is a fatal flaw.

    Tsmith it is not extremist to say the river could have been a drift only river and that would have been better for the long term sustainability of the river resources. Numerous Western States have gone to limited use patterns and drift only rivers. In fact the Kenai has it in the upper river and that section of the river is not in the discussions we have had for the lower river and habitat damage It is insulting to label those of us with alternative views as extremist and who know that one can put more people on the river with less habitat damage with drift boats than power boats. I am a realist enough to know that boat use will not be eliminated but I also know more drift days would help all types of issues. I would ask you a simple question - a friend of mine owns property along the high use areas for boat traffic and he sees his bank being lost every year. It is high bluff and he had to move his house back at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars. USGS scientist concluded the erosion rate was much faster due to boat traffic. Are you going to call him an extremist because he would like to see less boat traffic and bank damage? Are you going to say those who benefit from the river economically have no responsibility to him or is he just to take the loss? The Special Management Area was created to deal with these issues and DNR and the KRSMA advisory board which favors guides and high use could care less about his issue. He has put in proposals on limiting boat use and they go nowhere. So his he an extremist? I think not.

    Just one more example. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax payer money has been given to private property owners to build bank stabilization projects due to boat wakes. So should taxpayers foot the bill for private gain by a guide industry and limited sport fishing users? Or should an alternaitve method of fishing take place that still provides good economic return if not greater than the present?

  3. #203

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Tsmith it is not extremist to say the river could have been a drift only river and that would have been better for the long term sustainability of the river resources. Numerous Western States have gone to limited use patterns and drift only rivers. In fact the Kenai has it in the upper river and that section of the river is not in the discussions we have had for the lower river and habitat damage It is insulting to label those of us with alternative views as extremist and who know that one can put more people on the river with less habitat damage with drift boats than power boats. I am a realist enough to know that boat use will not be eliminated but I also know more drift days would help all types of issues. I would ask you a simple question - a friend of mine owns property along the high use areas for boat traffic and he sees his bank being lost every year. It is high bluff and he had to move his house back at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars. USGS scientist concluded the erosion rate was much faster due to boat traffic. Are you going to call him an extremist because he would like to see less boat traffic and bank damage? Are you going to say those who benefit from the river economically have no responsibility to him or is he just to take the loss? The Special Management Area was created to deal with these issues and DNR and the KRSMA advisory board which favors guides and high use could care less about his issue. He has put in proposals on limiting boat use and they go nowhere. So his he an extremist? I think not.

    Just one more example. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax payer money has been given to private property owners to build bank stabilization projects due to boat wakes. So should taxpayers foot the bill for private gain by a guide industry and limited sport fishing users? Or should an alternaitve method of fishing take place that still provides good economic return if not greater than the present?
    To say the river has too many powerboats and we should more actively manage them is not extreme. I think most reasonable people who use the river feel that way. To say that the entire river should be drift only is extreme, IMO. To insist that there is no problem is also extreme, IMO. I did not call you extreme, Nerka.

    I would tell your friend that he built his house too close to a river. I'm not a big proponent of government incentive programs like you mention - I'm typically opposed to those sorts of programs. I do not, however, let my opposition prevent me from taking advantage of such programs on the rare occasions that I qualify.

    Read through the DEC comments. Guides/KRSMA/KRGPA/KRSA swinging pretty hard against the study. I appreciated the City of Kenai's indication that they viewed the listing as a foregone conclusion despite any issues people may have with it. We really are talking about history here, and it would be super weird and hard to explain if DEC pulled the listing at this point. Seems like it would erode a lot of confidence in our current environmental regs.

  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    I don't think Nerka has ever said boats are a bad idea and if we started over maybe we would have drift only river. People are afraid the underlying attempt to get power boats off the Kenai. I believe members or a member of this forum was on the KWF board and pushed hard for this study to be done in an attempt to do just that. I have also talked with people that have been told directly by a member is forum that their goal was to get rid of power boats and turbidity was the way to do it.
    I don't believe Mr. Ruffner has that intent at all with his direction, he has stated many times that is not his goal, so no, I am not talking about him.

    I also think there is a fatal flaw in the study on how the baseline data was calculated, one has to look at 2009 and try and figure out why that year was such an outlier. I think what the study possibly used as a baseline for that year is the fatal flaw. I use the word possibly because I am not 100% sure how the baseline was calculated, but from the information I have gathered I do believe it is a flaw.
    Clearly there are two views on the turbidity study. The first is optimistic and positive - as a potential to improve Kenai River habitat by reducing impact. This view believes current powerboat impacts are causing habitat concerns. It supports the results of the peer-reviewed study, and looks toward reasonable solutions.

    The second view sees the turbidity study pessimistically and negatively - as a potential threat to current use and impacts on the Kenai River. Even an anti-agenda as suggested above. This view doesn't believe current powerboat impacts are causing habitat concerns. It does not support the results of the peer-reviewed study, and instead challenges it. It is reluctant to find solutions.

    I believe all studies should be scrutinized for flaws - after all, when it comes to taking care of our River, the truth is what matters. However, when claims are made that the study is flawed, then that accusation must be supported by evidence, not conjecture.

    It saddens me to see a member of the guide sector criticize a scientific study via conjecture, and without evidence - a study that has the potential to make our River a better place. To make it worse, the two solutions he presented are far from any concession. Removing the 6:00 am starting time for guides increases their fishing time and perpetuates a negative effect on private anglers - it removes the regulation already in place allowing private anglers time to fish without competing with the commercial guide industry. And if I recall, the powerboat drifting at Eagle Rock (which likely does contribute to the turbidity issue) was implemented by his fellow guide member, Joe Conners - ironically the same Joe Conners who is vehemently rejecting the results of the study. When really, removing the powerboat drifting area just resets all the guides back to backtrolling the way they always did.

    Agree or disagree with all that, we should all be looking for every opportunity to reduce powerboat impact on the Kenai River. And this is a good one. I will never understand why guys like yukon refuse to see it that way.

  5. #205
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    "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Funstastic again."

    Well said.
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    Just some history that is interesting. Back in 1996 when the KRSMA plan was written this area was identified in the plan as a problem area for erosion. In fact it states mile 9 if I am not mistaken as the starting point. So 22 years later and after studies some are saying we need to delay more. How they can justify that is beyond me.

    But the bigger point is that it is impossible with the State agencies and some influential user groups to do anything to protect this river. Something fundamental has to change in the State agencies and the KRSMA advisory board for any meaningful discussion of habitat related issues. The first recommendation I have is to suspend the KRSMA advisory board while DNR undergoes a full internal review of how they approach habitat issues and projects. I would suggest ADFG also do the same and deal with the conflict of interest they have between Sport Fish Division dollars from anglers and Habitat Division decisions that could reduce sport fishing opportunity. The reason for the Habitat initiative is being played out with this turbidity issue. The agencies and user groups have finally pushed the level of frustration to the point of action - right or wrong.

  7. #207

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    I can attest to the KRSMA board being pretty dysfunctional and ineffective. Not sure how to fix it but I can say that when I attended frequently, the KRSA/Guide lobby had the process locked down and they completely controlled who was allowed on the board. They didn't even have a written policy for selecting applicants before Rick Koch (former City of Kenai Manager) got involved and forced them to. When I applied for the board, it was nothing more than an interview with Joe Connors and Ben Ellis and they picked who they wanted. Not me...hahaha.

    In reading the KRSMA comments, and their meeting minutes, it looks like the comments were written by Chair Ted Wellman, who wasn't even present at the KRSMA meeting where comments were supposedly formulated. Further, it doesn't look like they voted on whether to submit comments or not, and the board members didn't get to read the comments before they were submitted. Seems weird to me. Almost like a certain few people ramrodded their comments through - comments that had a lot of common threads with KRSA's comments. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it looks to me.

    The whole thing is super retarded. The Kenai/Soldotna AC meeting was a similar scene - the chair made it clear that we WERE NOT talking about solutions to the turbidity problem, and the focus was on providing comments to DEC about our concerns with their listing in the 14-16 report. Talk about a waste of time. Let's all meet for hours and hours to talk about the problems we have with a 7 year old study that should have been listed in a report that was due out several years ago. Meanwhile we'll completely ignore doing anything to help the issue or prevent it from getting worse...

    I will again add that I don't think turbidity is a HUGE issue. I think the attitude of the Gease's, Connors', and others is a far greater issue. They just don't know when to stop pimping our river. It's gross.

    I see that the Sockeye Stamp made the KRSMA agenda again. That should help. Fat stacks baby! We'll be so flush with cash we won't need river banks!

    I also read that Ricky - through the Salmon Fellows program -is working on a project to see if salmon values are integrated into the KPB management plan. Can't wait to hear more about that.

  8. #208

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    I agree with Fun that the idea of removing the guide hours as a solution to the turbidity problem is not a good or workable idea. This would only shift the start time for the guide industry to first light, allow more time for more trips and cause more conflict and distrust with private angles. Remember, the guide industry numbers are growing again and has the potential for unlimited growth and increasing impacts on other users and the river itself. This should not be considered as a viable solution.

  9. #209

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    Quote Originally Posted by Funstastic View Post
    It saddens me to see a member of the guide sector criticize a scientific study via conjecture, and without evidence - a study that has the potential to make our River a better place. To make it worse, the two solutions he presented are far from any concession. Removing the 6:00 am starting time for guides increases their fishing time and perpetuates a negative effect on private anglers - it removes the regulation already in place allowing private anglers time to fish without competing with the commercial guide industry. And if I recall, the powerboat drifting at Eagle Rock (which likely does contribute to the turbidity issue) was implemented by his fellow guide member, Joe Conners - ironically the same Joe Conners who is vehemently rejecting the results of the study. When really, removing the powerboat drifting area just resets all the guides back to backtrolling the way they always did.
    IMO guide start/end times were an imperfect way of trying to limit the amount of guiding activity on our fairly small river. KRSMA needs to put their big boy pants on and limit the number of guides that operate on the river, and the number of trips those guides can take. Then start/end times should not be an issue, since habitat is more important than fishing first light without any guides. Also, they could close the boat launches when they are full. 1 in and 1 out. Just like Did-nee-land. It's a small mindset change that I'd like to see. I mean, the Kenai is one ride on Alaska's Playground, right? Sometimes it does not hurt to tell people the ride is full and they may have to wait a minute.

    And in fairness to Connors, if I remember correctly, Eagle Rock has been a drift area for a long time. My understanding of the reg change you speak of made it so some eh-hole couldn't post up and backtroll right there. Please correct me if I'm wrong cause I did not look that up.

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    Joe Connors was not the push for the drift only designation. It was a guide with Joe as his first name. As everyone knows, Eagle Rock has traditionally been a drift area. In theory it was a good regulation as boats fishing above the traditional drift area kept moving further and further down into the drift area. It was a good regulation for guides and non-guides alike as many non-guides drift there, probably more non-guides than guides most of the time, but that is just a guess based on observations.

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    If one looks at the data, there is less fishing pressure on the river now than 20 and 30 years ago. For someone to say hydrocarbons are an issue is absurd, I can only imagine what hydrocarbons were back in the 80's and 90's when the use was higher and all the motors were 2 stroke.
    Sockeye fishing, much of the bank is protected from any shore fishing that wasn't in the past and much of the bank fishing is being done from elevated platforms with vegetation growing below and much of the sockeye effort has switched from the bank to the dipnet fishery. There are no more "wing-dams" or rock retaining walls being built, no more 454 jet boats running the river in the shallows. There has been a lot of bank restoration done in the past 20 years on private property to DNR specs.
    Yes, I would argue that the river is in much better shape than the last 20-30 years.

  12. #212

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    If one looks at the data, there is less fishing pressure on the river now than 20 and 30 years ago.
    Specifically what data?

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    We get it yukon. You feel the turbidity findings are flawed, hydrocarbons aren't an issue, bank protection is adequate, oversized boats are acceptable, powerboat drifting is a good idea, and status-quo is just fine.

    It's time to stop using what went on 20-30 years ago as a scapegoat for how we take care of the River now. Your comparison is flawed because what went on 30 years ago is exactly what caused the situation we are in now, making it a poor model to use as the basis. Truth is, the Kenai River has always needed more protection, sooner. Over those 20-30 years we have lost soooo many opportunities to make it much more than it is now. And in my opinion the reason for that, and the situation we are currently in, is a powerful social-economic agenda that prioritizes things like commercial guiding impacts over habitat impacts. I believe your position here exemplifies that.

    For once I would like to see you (and guys like outspoken Joe Conners who by the way was certainly instrumental in that powerboat drift regulation) make some concessions. Again, I will never understand why you and your cronies want to fight the turbidity findings. Nothing good for the River comes of that. Another lost opportunity, just like 20-30 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    KRSMA needs to put their big boy pants on and limit the number of guides that operate on the river, and the number of trips those guides can take. Then start/end times should not be an issue, since habitat is more important than fishing first light without any guides. Also, they could close the boat launches when they are full. 1 in and 1 out. Just like Did-nee-land. It's a small mindset change that I'd like to see. I mean, the Kenai is one ride on Alaska's Playground, right? Sometimes it does not hurt to tell people the ride is full and they may have to wait a minute.
    I am a big proponent of that ideology - only so many boats on the River at one time. It is a way to limit impacts to the River without limiting guide numbers. The current notion that the River must accommodate all, each, and every demand, is not reasonable, and has not worked.

  15. #215

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    Quote Originally Posted by Funstastic View Post
    I am a big proponent of that ideology - only so many boats on the River at one time. It is a way to limit impacts to the River without limiting guide numbers. The current notion that the River must accommodate all, each, and every demand, is not reasonable, and has not worked.
    Are you a proponent of all user groups being restricted? I ask because when one group is restricted, that demand is usually absorbed elsewhere. Any body else notice an increase in rental boat usage last year (the black boats with Merc motors)? Is there a cap on how many rental boats can be permitted? Just something to consider...

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    Quote Originally Posted by penguin View Post
    Are you a proponent of all user groups being restricted?
    I certainly am. But not necessarily equally. Commercial impacts differ from non-commercial, and thus should be restricted differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Specifically what data?
    I am working on getting more recent data. 2008 is the most recent on this chart.

    Attachment 95245

    I would also say to some that we have put in a lot of regulations in the fishery as well as in the watershed to make up for past errors. It is not enough for some people that want a drift only fishery, but the river has come a long ways between environmental regulations, but also closed areas and fishery restrictions. For some the sky is falling for others, they see the positive.

  18. #218

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    Perhaps it is time to start thinking about long term solutions to reduce use and conflict on the river. One way to do that would be to institute a system where guides and private users would never be on the river at the same time. Here is how it would work in June and July only;

    PU boats would be required to stay below the Warren Ames Bridge - Reduces congestion.

    2 days a week commercial (guides and boat rentals) power boat use only. Guides can fish for themselves if they want to. Absolutely no private boats may be used for fishing or transporting fishermen, fish or fishing supplies.

    2 days a week Private power boat use only. Absolutely no commercial operators (guides, guide boats or boat rentals) can be on the river for the purpose of fishing or transporting fishermen, fish or fishing supplies.

    1 day a week commercial drift boats only. Same restrictions above for private boats.

    1 day a week private drift boats only. Same restrictions above apply to commercial operators.

    1 a week No fishing or transporting fishermen, fish or fishing supplies by anyone.

    Advantages:

    Should reduce daily powerboat traffic and effects by about half on power boat days
    Eliminate the need to limit guide numbers
    Eliminate user conflict between guides and private anglers
    Provides 3 full days a week of habitat friendly use

    Note: If any use or habitat issues arise then necessary restrictions would only fall on the user group responsible.

    I know this is way outside the box but at some point we have to figure out ways to solve some of our problems a manner that will work better for the river and us as responsible users.

  19. #219

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    I am working on getting more recent data. 2008 is the most recent on this chart.

    Attachment 95245

    I would also say to some that we have put in a lot of regulations in the fishery as well as in the watershed to make up for past errors. It is not enough for some people that want a drift only fishery, but the river has come a long ways between environmental regulations, but also closed areas and fishery restrictions. For some the sky is falling for others, they see the positive.
    Attachment didn't work. Just wondering what metric you were using to determine overall fishing pressure on the Kenai. I just don't see how it can be lower now than it was 20-30 years ago. Unless you are speaking only of one specific spot or fishery, maybe, but on the whole I think way more people and activity on the river than 20-30 years ago.

  20. #220

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    Quote Originally Posted by Funstastic View Post
    I certainly am. But not necessarily equally. Commercial impacts differ from non-commercial, and thus should be restricted differently.
    So, turbidity created by guide boats is different than turbidity caused by private boats. Got it.

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