Kenai Koncessions. . .
Someone has suggested that, given the Kenai River's threatened impaired status, erosion, and loss of habitat, "All user groups can co-exist, but concessions must be made if the river is going to survive as we know it. We need to stop fighting with each other, and start comin up with some solutions."
So rather than hijack an existing thread, here's a new one on the subject of concessions by all user groups in an effort to alleviate the Kenai's problems.
Private anglers: What concessions, if any, would or should be made by private anglers: e.g., limited access, drift-only, etc.?
Commercial users: What concessions, if any, would or should be made by commercial users of the river, e.g., smaller boats, lighter loads, fewer trips, etc.?
Marcus - good thread. This seems to be an issue of polution rather than over harvest. Is that correct?
As a private angler fishing the Kenai for several years, I would be happy to go to catch and release / artificial lures and flies only. However, that doesn't seem to be the issue. Drift or Power boats seem to be the issue. I think the power boat users should have the opportunity to solve this issue themselves before one is imposed on them. It is a numbers game.
Drift boats only or reduce the number of power boats drastically. Just my opinion
my two cents...
The problem only exists during July, correct? So why not have drift only and no boat days during that month. This would allow an altenative for anglers to still catch some fish but limit the impact on the enviorment. Yes we have to adjust and the guides (and private folk for that matter) may have to invest in a drift boat if they intend to fish on those days. If the DEC determines a certain type of motor needs to be on the river then I will buy one (my wife will love that) if that means I can still use the river. I wan't to watch my son's catch fish on the Kenai some day, not listen to my stories of the "good old days"
First, ...who are you quoting?
As far as what I would give up? I'd be willing to give anything. No qualifiers.
Will that statement change things? I'm doubtful....
Sure, it's an optimal hope that all stakeholders could agree that the resource is threatened, and that they should concede to whatever course of action is required to accomplish what's best for the resource.
Experience tells us that isn't going to happen.
Experience tells us that logic and reality are still viewed as simply many varying amorphous and theoretical 'faiths' to be questioned.
Reality is set aside, or redefined as needed to support a viewpoint, ...logic is ignored, or repudiated.
Management authority will be challenged, scientific studies will be refuted, politics will be injected, pop culture truths will be intoned and the squabbling over the dwindling pickings will continue.
People look to the river as their gift horse, whether commercial or recreational, ...their over-riding attitude is, by and large, ..it's still there for the taking and as long as anyone is taking any part of it, they too want to protect their access to what they view as their 'part' of it.
Sounds harsh, but watching the circus unfold over the years, that's what I've taken away from the process. That's the attitude that's most evident in all the many years of discussion about how to 'protect' the Kenai.
When all stakeholders can stand outside of that attitude and view their ultimate goal to truly act as stewards of the resource regardless of what they may take from it, then maybe we will approach management with a view towards what's best for the resource.
Too many people view management as yet another tool in their attempt to lock in their own personal allocation of the gift the river has to offer them.
Too many project a claim that, ...above anything else, the stance they claim is primarily driven only by the overall protection of the resource.
Actions continue to belie that 'projected' stance. What's good for the resource will be set aside in favor of what's good for the stakeholder's claim to what is left of the resource.
The common thread that weaves it's way through all past management discussions has been how best to maintain or accomodate each stakeholder's grip on what may be left.
That's the premise that all management decisions have been judged, and that's exactly how the current discussions are framed.
Your own question furthers framing the discussion in much the same way.
We even identify the factions who want to protect their shares of the spoils as 'stakeholders'. Let's be blunt, a user is a user even if you craft a new moniker for him, that user still wants to protect 'his' use.
Too many are still of the attitude that whatever is needed, they still expect to maintain their access to their portion of the 'gift' right to the end.
We define the river as 'resource', that very naming first implies it's there for our exploitation. Perhaps, it would be beneficial to reframe the perspective.
Perhaps we should look beyond exploitation first.
A fundamental change in that attitude is what's needed, ...until then, asking what people are 'willing' to give up is a continuing exercise in futility.
How to change that attitude? That's a question that has perplexed man for ages.
Greed is learned behavior. It would be nice to stop teaching it to children.
Evolution is a slow process and there's no guarantee it will prevail.
I'd have to buy a new boat (big bummer, eh?), but I'd be tickled pink if the river went drift only in June and July. I have a hard time visioning that actually happening. More realistically though, I would love to see a couple extra days of non motorized boat days. How about no motors on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday?
You could even take this a step further to also include motor boat traffic above Warren Ames bridge on these days as well. Of course in July that wouldn't sit well with dipnetters or sockeye fisherman headed to a gravel bar to fish, but the goal is a healthier river that all user groups will benefit from. So everybody can give a little and take part of the hit.
A problem I see going to drift only right now is a lack of adequate facilities for the general public. The Pillars isn't the easiest place to pull out of with a drift boat in July when there's a lot of water moving. It's okay if nobody's there, but that doesn't happen often. Eagle Rock is a great pull out location, but I doubt they could handle the volume the way they're setup now. Next stop down river is the city dock...better hope there's no wind and the tide is going out! Plus, the put-ins are also pretty limited unless you're planning on a lengthy float.
So far, so good. . .
robryan: I was quoting SockeyOrange. Second, how would you frame the question, and what is the river and its fish if not a resource? Third, I don't believe greed is a learned behavior—I believe it is inherent in human nature, true of all men at all times and in all places. Your post was interesting and raised some valid points, but how nihilistic can we get before nothing makes sense, before nothing is worth working for, no question worth answering?
I framed the question the way I did in order to hopefully learn how much each side—commercial and private—was willing (or unwilling) to give up. Remember the tale about Solomon who, when confronted by the question of whom to award a contested baby, offered to split the baby in two? The real owner of the child, who loved the child most, was revealed in the woman who was willing to give the baby up in order to save its life.
Still waiting to hear what some of the commercial users are willing to give up. . .
Hopes and expectations. . .
We can expect and hope that those who love the resouce most, who are most heavily invested in its welfare, will be those who will give up most to preserve it.
I agree Marcus, greed is innate in the human condition. Folks will generally take whatever they can, and then some, and that doesn’t seem to be getting better.
I have lived on the Kenai for the better part of a decade, and have boated on the Kenai River a grand total of one time (except for the mouth).
Having come from the (once) uncrowded Nushagak, I just couldn’t make the transition to the Kenai, which seemed to be a very crowded and overused river. Having lost the naturalness of the Nush to guides and fish camps, I had no desire to deal with it here.
Then a friend invited me to drift the Kenai with him last June on a drift only (and no guide?) day. What a pleasure it was! I hooked up with two nice kings, but boated none due to my inexperience with big fish. I also incidentally caught a few beautiful rainbows, of which I kept none. Though I am a meat fisherman, I had a ball, and hope to do it again. I can tell you though, having, at other times, looked out over the hustle and bustle of the motorized fleet, I have no desire to be a part of that fishery. I am amazed it has gone on as long as it has, and with people making money off of it too. I have friends who are guides; a guy has to make a living, but it doesn’t seem to right to abuse a river just to put folks with a lot of cash in their pockets out on the water.
I sure am glad I don’t have to come up with the answer to this quandary, but one thing is for certain: everyone is going to have to give up something in order to keep the Kenai River viable. And as I said before, I hope that the decisions are made at the state rather than federal level.
As a lifelong Kenai user, and used to be guide, I feel very strongly that something has to be done, should have been done 10+ years ago. I use a powerboat occasionaly to fish silvers or chase reds, but would gladly keep that boat in the salt and lakes if the river went drift only. But I have been fishing from a driftboat on the river for 15 years and for some reason never could catch a king from my powerboat anyways! I have personaly changed the minds of at least a dozen residents that had claimed they would never fish that river again, by taking them out on driftboat Monday. Many of them have since bought their own driftboat.
I dont totally agree that there are not enough ramps, more would be nice, but to say the river could not handle that many driftboats is simply not true. Go check out the Kasilof. The biggest problem with the Pillars (at least on DBM) is to many people not having their trailer there, and leaving the boat tied off to make the swap.
Increase Drift days
I don't want to take away the Kenai form anyone user group. But with the information at hand, it is obvious something needs to change. I have fished on both Drift only and regular days (I wasn't driving the power boat). I enjoy the peace of the drift only more, but power boat days can be very productive.
As is was talked about earlier, maybe the number of drift only days should increase. But to keep the guides happy. the number of fishing days would not change. Allow the guides to drift the new days. I would agree that the weekend should stay open for power boats. But the weekdays should be broken down, with either going mon, tues, wed or mon, wed, fri.
Another option would be to limit the number of people on the river. But when you think about that, it would be nearly impossible to enforece that. You could restrict launches, but then there are private launches and private docks.
The more drastic responses could be making the river drift only or cutting out days to fishing period. I know no one wants to see the second option there.
more drift day's.
I feel we should restrict the number of out of state guides. That’s the part I would be most willing to give up, maybe have local in state guides only. Then #2 have more drift only days and I mean drift only with no power boats at all... As of the last past years if you go out in July on a Drift Boat Monday there are lots of power boats to be seen running up and down the river over filling the banks with people to fish reds, its crazy.
This no longer includes my boat but it is going a bit overboard here. If you are simply running the river to stop and fish for reds you are not contributing to the problem with fuel discharge nearly to the degree as boats that are backtrolling or drift fishing with a motor.
Originally Posted by fishook
Sounds like more drift days are in order but what does that do for the days you are allowed to use a motor, now you'll have 1000 boats in a given day?
What about limiting the hours that you are allowed to fish for Kings. I know it's always nice to fish after the guides get off the river (less crowding) but seriously there has to be an effort to help the river.
Maybe not allowing boats to not be moored on the river? May help with boats being cleaned in the river and bilges discharging.
I saw in another post something about a gas station leaking through the ground. I don't know either way on that but has anyone looked into the possibility of contaminants coming from somewhere else besides boats?
What’s overboard is the loss of habitat and erosion by all the foot traffic on the river bank for that one day a week. People are fishing right under no fishing signs getting there by power boats.
Yes, there are several "high profile" contaminated sites near the river. If contaminates are reaching the river, they are below detection limits at the groundwater/ river water interface, or in one case within feet of this interface.
Originally Posted by AKBighorn
I'm a private angler and landowner on the Kenai, and during the summer months my only access to my parcel is by powerboat. I get to fish the river approx 15-20 days a season. That being said, am I willing to make concessions? The answer is yes.
I would be willing to have more drift only days, or even split the week in half, half being drift, and half being power. But on days when it's power, no drifters, and on days when it's drift only, no power boats. Just an idea.
What do I think the biggest problem is. Well, being a private angler, my opinion is biased, but does one river need 500 registered guides? I don't think so. As a private angler I am willing to make concessions, but it is my opinion that a cap has to be instituted on the amount of guides that are on the Kenai. The entire upper river has a cap, why can't the lower river be operated in the same fashion? I'd also be willing to give the guides a day when it's guides only, no private boats. As a power boat owner, I am willing to make concessions to both the commericial and the drift fisherman, but to make the river drift only is targeting one user group. I believe the answer is for us all to give up some things, and in the process we can all still recreate in the way we choose to do so. But please don't single out one group as the reason for the problem.
I would not support the river going to "no" catch and release as someone had suggested. To me sport fishing is just that, a sport. Otherwise we should allow only commercial fishing and send everyone to the grocery store for their fish and be done with sport fishing. Catch and release is what sport fishing is all about. The challenge of targeting and playing these amazing fish is what keeps me coming back, and to carefully revive that fish and watch them swim away is one of the greatest rewards to me.
I have questions about the fuel pollution issues. Samples were taken during July; the busiest time of the season from the lower river near the mouth,and they were skimmed off the surface. I'm no scientist, but that doesn't sound very scientific to me. Wouldn't one take samples at varying times of year, and from different locations? I hear in this thread about a gas station that may be leaking, and I also have heard about a large junk yard that could be leaching into Slikok creek. My point is, a few samples taken in July, and wham...it's gotta be the amount of boats on the river causing the pollution. Please don't misunderstand me, I do believe that outboard motors cause some pollution, but I don't think 600 gallons a day is coming from just the motors. cp
I have some answers for you. First, samples were taken over 6 years and included May,June, July, and August in some years. The samples were not just skimmed off the surface. They were collected through-out the water column in some years. Storm water outfalls were sampled along with upstream sites. The samples were also fingerprinted to identify source - Tersoro came out on top. The source was motor boats and peak levels took place, for example, on Sundays and Tuesdays in 2003. However, in other years the peak days were varied.
Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie
From the 2003 DEC report-- concentrations increased as " sites progressed towards the mouth of the river... No measureable concentrations of hydrocarbons occurred during the spring and fall stormwater sampling events with the exception of one sample...Intensive sampling at RM10 conducted from Sunday July 20 through Tuesday July 22 showed that hydrocarbon concentrations were associated with motorboat traffic on the river."
The estimate of 600 gallons a day is from the sport and personal use fishery.
Hope this answers your question.
You answered some questions I had there Nerka, and thanks. I was hoping that the sampling was done on a basis from different months and different sites etc.
Q - where can one find the results of this survey?
First, i agree with Marcus - those that love the river the most will probably give up the most, and I fear, but accept, that that is probably the sport fisherman.
Secondly I don't have any answers, but simply shifting traffic from one day to the next, or one month to the next is only a band aid I think. Drift only might help, but for how long?
What I can see coming is restrictions that will impact everyone in some form or another, like usage days, like Guide Boat restrictions, like maybe some kind of User Days and Drift Days Combo. From an Economic standpoint I dont see any further restrictions helping out at all. Lest we forget what the complete shutdown of a fishery did to the towns of Kenai and Soldotna. I really feel for those folks.
I shudder to think what kind of a zoo would be created if we said "The first XXX number of boats launched get to fish for the day, and all others must wait ...one out one in rule.
I love to fish the Kenai as much as everyone else, it took me over 40hrs of rod time to get my first king, I wonder how many hydrocarbons I put in the river for that fish, and, I dont think I want to know the answer. But catching those kings, and watching my youngest daughter HOOKUP! was something I really cherish. I hope we find a way to keep those kings ( and all other salmon in that river) big and plentiful, and available for ALL users groups to enjoy in whatever manner they wish.