Kenai River Section Closure???
I just heard from a very good source someone or group put in an RC at the Statewide Board of Fish meeting, going on right now in Anchorage, to close the Kenai from Slikok Creek to Poacher's Cove to fishing.
Can anyone confirm or deny this?
I will wait to comment until I can get 100% confirmation on if it was actually RC'd and by who.
I also heard from a couple of the guys at the Statewide meetings and they said this emergency petition was put in by KAFC to expand the closure around Slikok Creek due to low king counts into Slikok. They want to extend the current spawning closure upstream a little ways from the current marker and then extend it downstream to Poachers Cove. That is a lot of water to close.
This proposal did not get submitted to the BOF through the regular means but rather was RC'd in as an Emergency Measure which means that the public did not get a chance to discuss it or submit testimony on it.
I have not heard why it is such an emergency that it could not wait until the regular UCI BOF which is next winter.
My first thought on this is that it is Classic back door politics at its finest.
Last edited by iceblue; 03-17-2010 at 20:03.
Don't think so.
From what I understand the proposed closure for conservation reasons would only go to a point just above Sunken Island and would not extend down to Poacher's Cove. The Slikok Creek king run appears to be in trouble and additional protection may be warrented to protect this stock from extinction.
Checked again with the guys that I know at the Statewide BOF and they maintain that the proposal to extend the spawning closure at Slikok Creek downstream boundary is at Poachers Cove as written.
The danger of Slikok Kings going extinct statement I am in disagreement with. Remember that we are talking about one season and then this area will be taken up at its regular scheduled BOF meeting. Waiting one season would not cause this run to go extinct. To put in a proposal out of cycle and to do so as an Emergency Petition bypasses the public process. Why not submit this proposal in the standard way so that public could of commented on it? Were does ADF&G stand on this issue? Why didn't ADF&G submit a similar proposal if things were so urgent?
This surprises me from KAFC. I know they are champions of the public process and members of their organization have stated in the past they don't like proposals that don't go through public comment. I thought they held themselves to higher standards than that. To RC a proposal totally bypasses the public process and doesn't allow review by the public or ADF&G. Again, does ADF&G have position? I guess they are probably surprised about this as everyone else.
Originally Posted by iceblue
This type of proposal should be next year during the regular Kenai cycle. It will be interesting to see where this one goes.
Again, I am surprised that KAFC RC'd this proposal, out of the regular cycle, out of the public comment period and they appear to be playing the BoF game better than most, fish politics at its best.
If it's truly all for conservation, the closure would be pointless without capturing Sunken Island.
Originally Posted by Joe Lure
If that turns out to be a deal breaker, why bother?
Not hatin', just sayin'....
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
I just stopped by the BoF meetings and couldn't find the RC, I did find a letter from a board memeber of KAFC on the issue. I was there very quickly and didn't get a chance to really dig. I did talk to a former BoF member while I was there and he said he had been asked about the RC and thought it may have gone in through a different means. I am not sure how. Again, I wasn't there very long and didn't get a chance look.
Maybe a KAFC member or someone who knows specifics will post the reasoning behind the RC, if it is indeed there, and why it wasn't proposed earlier so the public could review it, not to mention why it is an emergency and can't wait until next year when the Kenai issues come before the BoF and F&G would have more time to review the proposal and get another year of data for Slikok.
they could always issue an E.O. mid season to open it if the chinook returns to slikok are looking good. no harm in erring towards conservation IMO.
Many of you are more familiar with this area than I but I generally support erring on the side of conservation. Not really taking a stand on this closure, just adding my perspective.
they could reverse the closure if things turn out well, right?
gee what can I say
This is the basic problem with this forum. I was going to take a break until someone called me to say Yukon and Iceblue are stirring the rumor pot and making false claims. So here is the truth for those who are interested.
Originally Posted by yukon
KAFC got the weir counts and stream survey counts from ADF&G and those counts are of concern. In past years the stream survey counts averaged 165 spawners and that was a peak count. Peak counts typically are about one half the total number of spawners. In the last two years the weir count was 70. That is not spawners as bear predation above the counting site will reduce that number. Also there were more males than females. Thus probably less than 30 females spawned in the drainage. ADF&G indicated they were not going to use their emergency order authority to increase the size of the closed area around the mouth of Slikok Creek. There is a fundemental disagreement between KAFC scientist and the Department on this. KAFC sees this as a prime example when the precautionary principle should be used. ADF&G is protecting fishing area over the fish in our opinion.
So given this disagreement KAFC submitted a petition to the BOF. Now a petition has to have a conservation reason and it is not an RC. It was submitted before the BOF meeting. Second, this meeting the Board only accepts or rejects the petition for discussion. If they accept it they will schedule a meeting to discuss it. A full public process and Yukon just does not understand the process. But instead of asking he makes claims of behind closed doors allegations.
The petition asks that the Slikok Creek closure be extended upstream from the present 100 yards to 500 yards. The downstream closure be extended from 300 yards to 0.75 miles which is above Sunken Island. This closure suggestion is the smallest area closed around other tributaries. It is not larger or more extensive as some claim. Again, this is not discussed at this meeting but at a future meeting and people can comment.
One final issue is that the run timing of fish entering Slikok Creek is longer than other tributaries - most fish come into the creek toward the end of July so are more exposed to overharvest.
At this point KAFC is willing to give up fishing area to protect a small tributary stock of early run chinook salmon. We would have thought that ADF&G and other users would support this modest approach. However, user group self interests and ADF&G opportunity mandate is taking priority over conservation in my opinion. If KAFC is right a small area of the Kenai River is closed and a stock of fish is protected. In ADF&G is wrong but prevails then a population of early run chinook salmon goes to extinction or gets listed as a stock of concern in the future with much greater impact on users.
The choice Yukon and Iceblue have made is obvious but hopefully the Board and public will see if differently, if not at this meeting then in a year at the full UCI Board meeting.
Nerka, thanks for the clarification. If you read my posts on this thread I have said nothing of dismay or support for the RC, I have asked for clarification, something you claim I didn't. This RC came as a surprise to many. KAFC seems to be going against what ADF&G's staff is reccommending at this time.
Again, Nerka, I have made no comments for or against your proposal in all of my posts, I continued to ask for clarification. I disagree more with the process than the proposal, I thought you were one who didn't like the RC process. IMO, it would be better to make this proposal at the UCI BoF meetings, and there would be one more year of data to review.
If indeed the boundaries you propose are at the locations you state, it would do little to save Slikok fish, more of a feel good proposal.
So, help me with the process:
When was the proposal/RC submitted?
If it was sumitted at the meeting or just before, why wasn't it submitted at an earlier time?
When will the RC be discussed and voted on? (is it at this meeting?)
What was the total comment time on the RC for the Department and the public?
I think Nerka explained it here:
"... KAFC submitted a petition to the BOF. Now a petition has to have a conservation reason and it is not an RC. It was submitted before the BOF meeting. Second, this meeting the Board only accepts or rejects the petition for discussion. If they accept it they will schedule a meeting to discuss it. A full public process ...."
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
That is the way I thought Nerka was going, I had the impression that it was just introduced at this meeting and would be acted upon, if accepted by the board, at a different meeting. But then Nerka ended with this:
Originally Posted by fishNphysician
.....hopefully the Board and public will see if differently, if not at this meeting then in a year at the full UCI Board meeting.
which made me then question if it could be acted upon at this meeting. That is my confusion. They way Nerka made it sound, the Board couldn't act on it this meeting, but at the end he made it sound like it could be acted upon at this meeting.
Nerka, sorry for my usage of RC instead of Petition. Please insert petition for "RC" in my prior comments/questions. I don't think the petition was put in before the meeting as F&G was working on their comments as of Thursday morning and the petition was not in print as of Thursday morning. Again, I am sure Nerka will clarify.
Interesting comments by all. For the record I am neither for or against this proposal/petition. I have not seen the data that Nerka is talking about as far as run strength into Slikok from last season and I also have not seen data from previous years to have something to compare it to. What I do know is that two years ago the King Salmon spawning closure area around Slikok was extended from mid July until the end of king season to give these fish added protection so any mainstem holding kings in in this area already have a extra layer of protection that they were not afforded in the past. Is this enough? Does the area need to be expanded? If it does need to be expanded what should the boundaries be? Who determined the location of the new spawning closure area markers and how was this determined?
Well, I would like to have that discussion and hear what ADF&G has to say on this topic and not get blindsided by something submitted out of cycle that was not generated by ADF&G. The Kenai River is one of the most regulated rivers in the world and if another area is to be shut down to sportfishing then I am hoping that it is done on sound science and not feel good biology.
One thing that I am having a hard time understanding is if there is a biological problem then why is ADF&G not out in front of this or at the very least on board with it? Don't tell me the reason is "political pressure" because I'm not buying that on a issue like this. After all the Karluk River on Kodiak just got shut down for the entire king season without a petition/proposal.
it was sent in
It was sent to the Board of Fish on 19 Feb 2010. Why the Board and Department took so long to get it out and comment is beyound me.
Originally Posted by yukon
To clarify, they will not vote on the closure this meeting only whether to take it up. My reference was to the Board voting to accept it for discussion.
One reason it was submitted on 19 Feb was because KAFC could not reach some idea of what exactly ADF&G was going to do. Also, KAFC had to have a meeting to make sure we were united on this one. That our scientists agreed.
Relative to whether it the extended closure will work or not is up for debate. However, waiting another year to not do something is too much or a risk in the mind of KAFC. This is about risk to a small population of chinook. KAFC would hope that ADF&G monitor this system this year and take action if the Board does not.
However, some ADF&G staff feel 35 spawning pairs or less for a few years in a row is not a conservation issue. I actually hope they are right but if they are wrong watch out Yukon, the Department and the public will demand more drastic action than a relatively minor action at the creek mouth.
One thing I did not mention is that escapements have been at the high end of the goal range or above in recent years and yet few fish are getting to Slikok Creek. What happens if the escapement goal is at the mid point or lower? How low does the number of spawning pairs have to go before ADF&G considers it a conservation concern and then is it too late? ADF&G should not be rigid on this - they are putting opportunity as I stated before, ahead of conservation action. Yet in reality is opportunity really lost - no - no one is going to stop fishing the Kenai with the closure KAFC is asking for.
I guess I can chime in on this since I am at the meeting. There was earlier oral testimony by someone who said that studies on Slikok Cr. since a 1990 indicated the average run size was estimated to be around 300-500. Then a weir study conducted in 2008 and 2009 only produced an actual count of around 70 fish.
Who knows how many spawning pairs that equates to since the sex ratio is probably not 50/50. I love the Kenai and I donít want to see any stocks depleted or lost.
I would say take the precautionary approach and study these stocks more. Preventive measures canít hurt, procrastination can. Like the RC says, small streams are the first to go because some deem their numbers insignificant.
I heard that the lower end of the proposed closed area would go downstream to just above Sunken Is. but canít verify that.
I guess the bigger question here is why isnít F&G the ones out in front of this? I always thought they were the ones that were supposed to be looking out for the conservation of our resources.
Well, better get ready to head back down to the meeting. If I hear anything new Iíll chime in again.
I found out a couple of interesting things today in regards to the petition that was submitted by KAFC to expand the king salmon closure around Slikok Creek.
First, the proposed distance upstream is larger than what Nerka claimed when he said that the petition was asking to move the upstream boundary marker from 100 yards out to 500 yards. Petition is asking the markers to be moved .5 miles upstream which would make the total distance 1.27 miles which is larger than the Funny River spawning closure of 1.11 miles.
A weir has been in place on the Russian River for years and is a good source of accurate information on what has been happening in that tributary of the Kenai River. To sum up the data the average king counts were 127 with a range of a low of 15 up to a high of 638. Looking over this data it is easy to see the scattered all over the board king counts from year to year in the Russian. Stands to reason that Slikok would follow a similar pattern doesn't it?
Someone also forgot to mention that a damaging culvert has been replaced on Slikok that probably will be more beneficial than closing additional areas to fishing.
I also found out that no one from KAFC contacted the Sportfish Biologists in the local Soldotna ADF&G office prior to submitting this petition. Why? Think about that for a minute. Why wouldn't KAFC take the concerns that they have to the Department to at least talk about this situation before submitting a emergency petition? I cannot answer that one but I can say that if I was an employee for ADF&G Sportfish that I would be really, really, pissed at KAFC for this lack of respect.
As of right now you cant fish from adf&g markers 300 yd downstream of the creek to 100 yd upstream. Then just up river there’s another closer 250 yd below Centennial Park upstream to the Soldotna Bridge. Would it make sense to tie them together? Sounds like Slikok CK maybe having some trouble. Boy howdy you would think with all that habitat there would be more then 35 fish pairing up, some ppl can catch that many in a week.
Why would you want to tie those two closures together? On paper and an uneducated eye it may make sense, but do you really think those slikok creek fish go a mile or more past the creek, then turn around and go back up the creek?
In all of this what bothers me the most is the way this petition is going down, obviously KAFC biologists think they know more than the ADF&G biologists. Why would they KAFC not consult F&G on this one. By not discussing this with F&G and by putting in the petition they think F&G is not doing their job. A slap in the face of F&G if you ask me.
My guess is that members of KAFC have indeed talked with some members of F&G on this one........as they have some contacts within F&G.......
I know that other organizations work with F&G on proposals, consult with them and have even been asked by F&G to put in proposals. To me, that shows a good working relationship with those charged with managing the fishery, working together.
Anyways, those are just some thoughts, I haven't heard where the Board ended on the proposal, I thought they were going to address it Friday afternoon. Has anyone heard?
I do not see how KAFC blindsided ADF&G as it was there survey counts, there info, they knew what was returning or have a good idea whatís coming in the creek, I hope the petition will open up a scheduled discussion, let f&g tell us the whys and the why notís. They take water samples every week in the creek I am sure there on top of this issue even if KAFC had to nudge them. I was looking on a fishing sight the other day and saw a guy holding a king out of the water just down stream of the mouth off the lower landing of Sliklok Cr, only if he new how low the creek count was??? Whatís it going to take for some to do the right thing?