Received this by e-mail this morning (I am not a member) and thought it might be worthwhile passing on to forum readers:
Kenai Area Fisherman's Coalition
ALERT *********** ALERT************ ALERT*************** ALERT
As you have probably heard by now DNR has come out with their proposed 50hp regulation changes. The comment period deadline is Dec. 19 and there is a public hearing where you can give oral testimony next Tuesday evening Nov. 28 at the Borough Bldg at 7pm. We are suggesting, if possible, to do both. DNR's proposed regulations are;
* Change the max. horsepower on the Kenai river from 35 to 50 hp..
* Prohibit all 2-stroke motors (except modern Direct Fuel Injection types) after Jan. 2008.
* Limit boat length to 21 ft. or less, and 106 inches or less wide.
KAFC has met and discussed these changes and their ramifications for private anglers. The biggest problem with them is that DEC has said that if the change was approved to 50hp and 2-strokes were eliminated, the increased horsepower would cause more TAH pollution than we presently have with both 4-strokes and 2-strokes on the river at 35hp. What this now boils down to is that DNR is trying to placate the guides by giving them their 50hp at the expense of private boaters that utilize 2-stroke motors. We acknowledge that 2-stroke motors cause more TAH discharge than 4-strokes but we feel one year is not enough lead time for the public to react to this change and they will simply become disenfranchised from the Kenai because they may not be able to afford a new motor to only access the Kenai a few times a year. We also feel that DNR has failed to look at any alternatives. Below are some talking points we have identified on these issues followed by some alternatives that we believe would be appropriate considerations so that the load of recovery of our watershed is shared by both the guides and private boaters rather than just the private boaters suffering this hardship.
* DNR has not provided any data to support their claim of TAH reductions by going to 50hp.
* DNR has not provided any data to show how going to 50hp will reduce erosion.
* No discussion of safety issues with more power and speed.
* No sharing of conservation burden between user groups.
* Limits options for a recovery plan required by the Impaired Waters classification.
* Does not address boat weight or loading options pertaining to erosion and boat performance.
* Total guide activity may be a larger contribution to elevated TAH levels than 2-stroke motor emissions.
* Except for the PU fishery below the Warren Ames bridge, 2-stroke motors only comprise 12-15% of the total daily boat counts Tue. - Sat..
* If solutions are not accomplished to solve the TAH problem related to the PU fishery then the problems will never be resolved and upriver 2-stroke boaters would have been unfairly targeted.
* DNR has failed to measure how many of it's constituents would be
eliminated from the fishery and a cost analysis of what the economic burden would be to the private sector that owns 2-stroke motors but only accesses the river a few times a year.
* Do not approve the 50hp increase because DEC says it will lead to elevated TAH levels.
* More drift days for both guides and private boaters.
a) Would reduce TAH levels and erosion.
b) Would encourage people to switch to drift boats.
c) Would allow more fish to move upriver and distribute pressure.
d) Could accommodate more fishermen because of no environmental
* Guides limited to one trip per day.
a) Could stagger start times to lower TAH accumulation.
b) Reduce crowding.
c) Lower overall boat activity.
d) Lower TAH contributions from guide activity.
* 2-stroke motors prohibited in July only per a phaze out timetable determined by the DEC recovery plan. July is the only month where TAH levels have been exceded.
* Institute PU fishery limitations such as an anchor up dipnet fishery.
* Reduce max loads with an incentive to switch to flat bottom boats.
Possibly, max load on the Kenai of 4 people, however if you have a flat
bottomed boat over 18ft long but less than 21 ft then you can carry 5 people.
I'm sure that many of you have other excellent ideas along these lines. What is important is that we be heard on this issue, so please send in your comments before the deadline and encourage all of your friends to do the same. Share this message with any private angler you know that fishes the river. We know the guides will be out in force on these issues so it is very important that the public rises to this occasion. Send comments to:
Chris Degernes, Chief of Field Ops
Div. of Parks and Outdoor Recreation
550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1380
Anchorage, Ak. 99501-3561