Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: HB 41 - Return Habitat Division back to ADFG

  1. #1
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default HB 41 - Return Habitat Division back to ADFG

    To all,

    I wanted to get the word out that there is a bill now in the House to Return Habitat Division back to Fish and Game.

    For those who may not know the particulars, Governor Murkowski, by executive order, and against the recommendations of every former Fish and Game commissioner, removed the Habitat permitting division out of Fish and Game and placed it within DNR. The reasoning behind this was to "streamline" the permitting of new resource development projects, but this order effectively gutted the checks and balances we'd had since statehood, and removed the authority for permitting and protections of our fisheries and waters from ADFG, the one agency committed to protecting those things, and placed it within an agency whose mission, and culture, is far different than that of ADFG.

    Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has sent in written comments to the legislature on this bill. You can read them at the link below, and they will provide more background info:
    http://alaskabackcountryhunters.org/...%20Anglers.pdf

    The link to the bill text is HERE.

    I strongly urge all hunters and anglers to voice their support for this bill. Out constitutional founders recognized that resource development was extremely important to Alaska's future, but also that we needed to provide some checks and balances in order that we did not make the same mistakes as the lower-48 with our fisheries and habitat. For over four decades, Habitat biologists within ADFG reviewed and permitted countless new resource development projects, while still maintaining the largest wild salmon runs in the world. Governor Murkowski changed all that with a stroke of the pen, at the behest of big money and industry. It was a terrible idea to move habitat out of ADFG, and we need to move it back.

    End rant.
    Thanks for listening,

  2. #2
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River/ Juneau
    Posts
    5,154

    Default

    Thank god for checks and balances
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  3. #3
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default today's ADN opinion piece

    http://www.adn.com/opinion/view/stor...-8536992c.html

    I'd really like to drum up some support of this bill among the hunting community.

    And don't "thank God" for checks and balances yet, Patrick. Those checks and balances were removed by Murkowski, and we just may never get them back if we don't push to return Habitat to ADFG now.

    Allbest,

  4. #4
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks, Ak.
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    OK, start drumming:
    How about examples of decisions from Habitat under DNR you feel were wrong, or rushed thru. How will that change under F&G?
    When habitat moved to DNR, was there any staff changes?
    Will this be a physical move, where records, computers, offices are actually moved to different building, different towns? If so, what wil the costs be to do the move?
    Give us some "meat and potatoes" reasons to support the move.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  5. #5
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default some answers

    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper
    How about examples of decisions from Habitat under DNR you feel were wrong, or rushed thru. How will that change under F&G?
    Mike, if you have the time, and the right software, go to this link:
    http://www.ktoo.org/gavel/audio.cfm

    I haven't transcribed all the oral testimony on this bill yet. If you look on the left side of that page, there is a calender. Click on the Feb 14th date to bring up the audio archives from that day. Then scroll down to
    "Listen: House Special Committee on Fisheries" and click on that link to bring up the audio file and listen to the testimony.

    Concerning your above question, former ADFG Habitat biologist Matthew LeCroix spoke to this in testimony before the Fisheries Committee. He was transferred to DNR OHMP (Office of Habitat Managment & Permitting) after Murkowski moved the Habitat division out of ADFG to DNR, and is now back in ADFG as a habitat bio with sportfish division. It's rare, first of all, for any working bio to testify in public, so I want to make it clear that this guy has guts for testifying. We can either choose to believe his testimony, or not. (It begins about minute 37 on the audio file archive) My impression was that the Fisheries Commitee believed every word, as he was backed up by testimony from Carl Rosier, former F&G commissioner, and another bio who testified on Feb 12. To sum up his comments, he said that when Habitat was moved to DNR, and he was transferred there (ostensibly to do the same job he'd been doing with ADFG), that some of his recommendations and analysis on certain new resource development projects was edited or vetoed because it did not meet the desired goal of DNR. He said that under ADFG that this type of thing did not happen, simply because the goal of ADFG Habitat Division was to protect our fisheries and habitat, and not to develop resources. Under DNR, he said that his bosses either found another bio who would write up a different report more favorable to what DNR wanted, or they simply reworded or changed his written report and analysis so that the project could be permitted. So it's both a "streamlining" of permitting and also a change in how we listen to the concerns of habitat biologists, now within DNR.

    So, YES, I think there are current examples of decisions about habitat protections under DNR being skewed to meet the mission of DNR on approving certain resource development projects.

    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper
    When habitat moved to DNR, was there any staff changes?
    Yes, there was a cut in the overall number of habitat biologists, although 48% of the Habitat bios with ADFG did move over to DNR. The new OHMP in DNR has only 37 employees to oversee the permitting of all the new projects that take place within Alaska, though there is a complicated MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between DNR and ADFG that is supposedly supposed to provide some safeguards and ADFG input, though LeCroix testifed that ADFG had to force DNR to allow them some input on the Pebble Mine project...and that ADFG input is not being asked for in many cases, nor is DNR living up to the MOU in certain regards. Examples were given, one of the Rock Creek Mine, in which ADFG was allowed no input.

    Will this be a physical move, where records, computers, offices are actually moved to different building, different towns? If so, what wil the costs be to do the move?


    The move from ADFG to DNR, in three cases (Fbks, Soldotna?, and one other), has DNR OHMP office and staff co-located within the actual ADFG building. In most cases, the Murkowski move had staff and offices move to DNR buildings. I don't know the costs of the initial move from ADFG to DNR, nor the costs to move the division back to ADFG. What I can tell you about the current costs to the state is that with Habitat under DNR, they are unable to receive the Dingel-Johnson fed funds fomerly available to ADFG from the sale of fishing lures etc. Overall, there has been a cut in the number of habitat bios, in staff, but I am not sure if the new Habitat office within DNR is actually going to save the state any money, even with the staff cuts, because the fed funds formerly available are only available to F&G and the new division depends on general fund money. I suppose ADFG can use (or is using) the Dingel-Johnson funds for other purposes now, though I'm not sure.

    Would moving Habitat back to ADFG cost the state money? Most certainly it would, just as moving it out of F&G in the first place caused disruption and monies to be spent. Most of the good info on all this is in the oral testimony available online from Feb 12 and Feb 14, and sorry I haven't transcribed it yet and I'm not sure when the state offers the text versions of the whole thing. And sorry for the long-windedness <grin>. It's complicated and I'm terrible about explaining it in concise terms.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •