DEC declares Kenai River cat. 5
In yesterday's paper DEC officially announced that the Kenai River would be a Cat. 5 impaired river in their recommendations to EPA. They had considered a 4b status which requires a recovery plan be in place. Since the DNR and City of Kenai proposal are still proposals they felt they could not list the river as a 4b or use those actions as a recovery plan
In any event, the next step is to prepare a recovery plan for the river.
This should be interesting.
It's a good first step. Now all user groups need to work together with the goal of protecting the river, and the fish, for future generations. This is going to take compromise on all sides.
I must have missed the article....where did it run in the Clarion? I get the paper on line so sometimes miss stuff.
was in the Clarion
It was front page in the Clarion. You can see the article on line.
full text on-line
Impaired listing sought
DEC to ask EPA for Category 5 status for Kenai River
By PATRICE KOHL
State regulators have finalized a decision to ask the Environmental Protection Agency list the Kenai River as a Category 5 impaired water body under the federal Clean Water Act — a category listing used to flag water bodies that fail to meet state water quality standards.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation proposed listing the river this fall after water samples revealed hydrocarbon levels in the river have exceeded state standards of 10 parts per billion in the month of July every year since 2000, when testing began.
Supporters of the proposal to list the river have said it will force agencies and user groups to come together to solve a problem has long been neglected. Those opposed to the listing, however, have argued it will unfairly tarnish the Kenai River’s image by categorizing it alongside water bodies with significantly worse pollution problems.
In coming to a listing decision for the Kenai River, the DEC also considered listing the Kenai River under Category 4b of the Clean Water Act instead of Category 5, said Drew Grant, who works with DEC’s water body assessment and reporting.
Category 5 and Category 4 listed waters are both considered impaired, but unlike Category 5 waters, Category 4 waters have water recovery plans.
The DEC considered recent attempts by the Department of Natural Resources and city of Kenai to address the hydrocarbon problem with proposals to remove inefficient two-stroke motors on and at the mouth of the Kenai River when deciding whether to list it as Category 5 or Category 4b impaired, said Lynn J. Tomich Kent, Division of Water Director at DEC.
In the end, however, DEC decided the unpassed proposals were not sufficient for the department to determine the Kenai River has a recovery plan and to recommend listing as a Category 4 impaired water, she said.
“There’s some question and variability as to whether these things are going to kick in (and whether), even with these things happening, we would see a reduction,” Grant said.
“There’s a whole lot of X factors here. If there was more confidence and assurance that these things were going to kick in and fall into place I think there might have been a greater likelihood for the department to put it into a Category 4b.”
The decision to list the Kenai River still has to be approved by the EPA and is not yet final. But the likelihood of the EPA rejecting the DEC’s recommendation is low.
“That typically never happens, it’s usually the states battling the EPA to put waters in a category other than Category 5,” Grant said. “In all likelihood this won’t change and the water will be placed in Category 5.”
For the Kenai River to move down from a Category 5 listing to a Category 4 listing, a recovery plan must be developed. A recovery plan based on a total maximum daily load, or TMDL pollution budget, for example, would drop the river down to a Category 4a listing and an appropriate alternative recovery plan could drop it down to a Category 4b.
But because pollution in the Kenai River has been shown to be caused by motor boats rather than a point source, however, a TMDL recovery plan would likely not be a good fit for the Kenai, Grant said.
“A TMDL is appropriate and it’s very classic for a pulp mill or a sewage treatment plant or what ever ... you’re allocating loads so that they can reduce their loads,” he said. “It’s not a good paradigm for non-point sources (such as) runoff related things. In some instances there’s non-permitted discharges, which is really what it is on the Kenai. All those motors, they’re not required to get permits.”
Agencies and user groups will likely have to get creative as they work toward a plan for solving the river’s hydrocarbon problems, he said.
“The range of remedies could be wide and could be painless or painful,” he said.
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
A few questions...
If someone could enlighten me on this subject it would be greatly appreciated.
Who writes the Recovery Plan?
If the State writes the plan, then who is the "Supervisor" of the plan and how it is implemented or enforced?
The way I have read this, the State has turned control of things over to the EPA.
Or am I wrong?
We could have avoided being a cat 5 in all of this if the DNR would pass the KRSMA proposal. It would also help if the City of Kenai would have passed their ban on 2-stokes.
Thanks - glad someone else thinks we should have gone ahead and encouraged DNR to approve the KRSMA proposal. It is not a perfect plan but is a lot better than nothing. I guess we have the folks who led the letter writing campaign against the proposal to thank for the Feds getting involved on the Kenai.
Blame Games . .
"The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation proposed listing the river after water samples revealed hydrocarbon levels that exceeded state standards of 10 parts per billion in the month of July every year since 2000, when testing began," the Associated Press reported.
Originally Posted by gusdog44
Read the entire article in the Anchorage Daily News:
It is a done deal! Lets not point fingers and talk about what ifs. Maybe we can talk about some solutions.
Read the article, the guy basically says if we would have passed anything (KRSMA and/or Kenai ban) it woundn't have gone to a class 5. Instead, those that strongly pushed for nothing to be done now and to talk about it more and study it more delayed anything being implemented and now it is classified a 5.
The real loosers are the comercial fishermen who now have to market their Kenai "impaired" Wild salmon product. By being obstructionists to the KRSMA proposal they possibly encouraged the impaired classification.
The KRSMA had the guts to put forth a proposal, and they got slammed both as a group and individually for the proposal, by some on this board. Now it is time for those "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" to get up and do something besides bash those that put the proposals out there.
Fishguy, yes, we can point fingers because we wouldn't be in this situation if the KRSMA proposal had passed (and it still might). There are some on this board who led the charge against it.
Talking about solutions on this board is a waste of time. The KRSMA proposal was 2 years in the making, if it doesn't pass we could easily be looking at that time frame or longer to see something else proposed and to go through the public process.
Just asking a few questions that I don't know the answers to yet.
I do know that the proposal put forth by DNR has not been decided upon yet. There were many comments submitted during the public comment period, and the decision from the Commissioner of DNR should be out in a few weeks. DEC however moved forward without waiting for the decision from DNR.
Yukon- your analysis has flaws
Yukon, the reason the river is a Cat 5 is because of the inability of the guides, general public, and DNR to deal with this issue in a rationale manner over 5 years ago. Instead, the guide industry has increased in numbers and DNR has refused to take any action to control growth on this river. The reason it is a Cat 5 is because there are too many boats, the motors used, and the way fishing is done.
Those of us who spoke against the KRSMA proposal are not the problem. We spoke against increased fuel discharges by going to 50 hp. We also said that banning 2 stroke engines in July was appropreiate. Your comments about passing the total KRSMA proposal and meeting the requirements of a recovery plan are pure speculation. DEC may have wanted to do that but in truth neither proposal would have dealt with the problem and met the requirements of a recovery plan. DEC knew this and like everything else on this river wanted a quick political solution. However, for the record, whether it is listed as a cat 4b or 5 is almost meaningless. It is listed on the EPA list as impaired - period.
The City of Kenai proposal deals only with their dock. It does not deal with the private launch sites in the lower river. So the idea the City of Kenai proposal would solve the problem is not true. It is a step but probably would not make one bit of difference if boats launched from Kenai Landing, fish processors, or upriver sites.
So lets cut the bull and stick to the issue. The solution to this problem will require all parties to give up something. Saying that those of us who oppose a guide proposal to increase horsepower on the river and reduce private anglers by banning 2 stroke engines for the whole year is just plain greed - pure and simple.
Brave New World's NEWSPEAK. . .
Now, yukon, that dog won't hunt. Surprising as it may be to some few, most folks have enough common sense to know that more horsepower can't possibly add up to less hydrocarbons. "More is Less" is Newspeak, a fiction straight out of Brave New World.
Originally Posted by yukon
I am not going to fight with the two of you. It is pointless, you won't change my mind and I won't change yours. I never said either proposal would solve the problem, but they are steps in the right direction, exactly what the DEC would like to see.
Nerka, don't forget the proposal was a KRSMA proposal not a guides proposal. GREED, no, no one I talked to ever said "if we get rid of two-strokes we will get rid of the non-guided angler" that is what anti-guides have said to pit the non-guides against the guides. nice try. Hmmmm..KRSA suppports the proposal.....
Marcus your dog don't hunt, Increase to 50 = lower erosion without significant increase in hydrocarbons, get rid of 2-strokes = more than offsetting the small increase by going to 50. WIN - WIN
The last line of the article "“The range of remedies could be wide and could be painless or painful,” he said."
The KRSMA proposal is pretty painless to all but 15% of the users. Let's go all drift, then it would be painless to 5% of the users.
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT........I forgot my previous solution. Lets get rid of the guides and go to drift only. The guides are the problem. Get rid of them and all the problems will be solved.
I just won't fish the Kenai, I will by some of that choice Kenai "impaired" Wild salmon because it will be so cheap.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Dang, you guys got my heart rate up again!!!
I as a private user have used the Kenia only a couple of times in the past few years. The times that I have used the river was strictly for fishing reds. Now if you ban the 2 stroke motor that I have used from the river you have forced me form the river period. For the amount of use I get there is no way I will ever recoup the cost of purchasing a new motor therefor I will be banned from the river period! Now the problem is specific to those fishing for Kings as their motors are running all day! I know there aren't a ton of people in my position not fishing for Kings but it simply is not fair to ban me totally from the river. I suggested that the use of motors while fishing would affect everyone equally and would dramatically decrease the amount of discharge in the river without banning me totally from the river. I am not opposed to doing my part as little as it may be but NOBODY even commented on my suggestion because NOBODY wants to give ANYTHING! I wouldn't be opposed to increasing the HP to 50, that's giving on my part but at the same time I want to still have access for the 30 min. or so that I need to run my 2 stroke to get to my fishing hole.
More-is-less. . .
Well said, and it tellingly drives home just how inconsiderate and selfish is the push for "full speed ahead with 50-horsepower, and d**n the two-strokes."
. . .I want to still have access for the 30 min. or so that I need to run my 2 stroke to get to my fishing hole.
Once-in-a-great-while users take it in the ear while hour-after-hour, day-after-day, week-after-week users get their way.
"More-is-less" applies here too. . . . more for them, less for you. . .
Guys, sacrifices need to be made. 15% of users would take it in the ear, that is right. Even banning two-stokes in July as Nerka advocates would not let this guy or most of the 2-stroke red fishmen on the river in the peak time for the freshest reds.
How would one enforce a 30 min time limit on 2-strokes? Lets get real. I am sorry some fishermen would be displaced by the proposal but it is going to have to happen. This is like the everybody but me excuse. This proposal would affect some fishermen, yes, but it would be the least amount of users with the maximum benefit to the river.
Marcus, lets hear some solutions that do not affect any user........down, set, hike.....
Some people will take a financial hit - no matter what we do. Remember the thousands of dollars lost in the 80s when the 35 horse regulation came into effect. You could by big inboard jets for next to nothing....some folks even shipped their boats to Oregon to try and re-capture some of the value. Paralysis by analysis has been an overwhelming problem in trying to deal with the situation on the Kenai. We need to do what we can as we can. If we wait for a perfect solution it will be too late. There are people out there who would like nothing better than to see the Kenai a drift only river.....how many of us would THAT disenfranchise??
Some people will take a financial hit - no matter what we do. Remember the thousands of dollars lost in the 80s when the 35 horse regulation came into effect. You could buy big inboard jets for next to nothing....some folks even shipped their boats to Oregon to try and re-capture some of the value. Paralysis by analysis has been an overwhelming problem in trying to deal with the situation on the Kenai. We need to do what we can as we can. If we wait for a perfect solution it will be too late. There are people out there who would like nothing better than to see the Kenai a drift only river.....how many of us would THAT disenfranchise??