No announcement yet.

Kenai River DEC comment period on impaired listing

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Originally posted by Nerka View Post
    Following is the information I received on the public comment process.[/COLOR]
    The 2006 Proposed Integrated Report is currently out to public notice. The notice was published in the Anchorage Daily News, News Miner and Juneau Empire. DEC has a web page with the Proposed Report, supporting documents and public notice information at:

    A straightforward fact sheet on the whole document is available at this link:

    Written comments to:
    DEADLINE for submissions is 5 PM Alaska Time, December 1, 2006.
    Send written comments to:
    Drew Grant
    PO Box 11180
    410 Willoughby Ave Ste. 303
    Juneau , AK 99801
    Phone: 907-465-5304
    Fax: 907-465-5274

    Thanks for all the info. I'll respond and pass it along for others to act on it too...


    • #17
      Say what?

      Originally posted by AKCheese View Post
      good lord if people can't see this for what it actually is then let the games begin.........

      I think it's going to be hilarious....................
      What in the world is this about?

      What is this actually? What games? What's going to be hilarious?


      • #18
        Lower Kenai needs scrub: TOO DIRTY. . .

        The Kenai's pollution problems made the front page of today's Anchorage Daily News in an excellent article, which clearly defines the question and exposes the players, the politics, and more. See it here:

        This is a serious matter, which demands action. Nor will it go away. There are special interests (see my thread in the General Discussion forum) who want to see increased use of the Kenai. Send your comments to:

        Drew Grant
        PO Box 11180
        410 Willoughby Ave Ste. 303
        Juneau , AK 99801
        Phone: 907-465-5304
        Fax: 907-465-5274

        Lower Kenai needs scrub
        TOO DIRTY: Under Clean Water Act, river could be "impaired."

        By BRANDON LOOMIS Anchorage Daily News, November 4, 2006

        SOLDOTNA -- The world- famous Kenai River is about to go down in infamy.
        After years of charting elevated petroleum pollution from boat motors during the peak of the July king salmon fishery, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation proposes adding the lower river to the list of waters considered "impaired" under the federal Clean Water Act. It's a listing that means users -- mostly sportfishermen and guides -- will have to clean up their act or face the possibility of strict emissions controls or, some hope, access restrictions.
        It also casts a pall over the pride of the Kenai Peninsula, home of the world-record sport-caught salmon and a yearly fishing classic that lures political and corporate big shots.
        "It's just a sad day for the Kenai River," said Ken Tarbox, a retired state fisheries biologist who fishes the river. "A world-class salmon river is now polluted."
        Nonetheless, he and others who want a cleaner river are glad it has finally happened. It could signal a resolve to restore the Kenai.
        Lynn Kent, director of the DEC's Division of Water, said the listing won't amount to draconian limits anytime soon. It simply means the state must come up with a plan, which likely would include public education and closer coordination with user groups. If that doesn't work by 2011, the state will have to draft a pollution budget -- called a total maximum daily load -- and try new measures to meet it.
        At that point local ordinances or state rules affecting pollution could be in order. For the Kenai, though, it won't be as simple as it is on industrially polluted rivers, where regulators can point to a factory's pipe and require changes.
        "It's not something you can fix instantaneously," she said. It will take participation from anglers and interest groups. "It's not something where we'll go in a dark room and decide what to do."
        A first, controversial run at it accompanies the proposed listing: a plan allowing larger but newer and arguably cleaner motors to operate on the river. Some call it a first step to a cleaner river, while others say it's an attempt by fishing guides to get permission to use faster boats at the expense of locals -- and to do it fast, before Gov. Frank Murkowski leaves office.
        Supporters of the change also claim more horsepower will let boaters get up to planing speed faster, reducing wake and bank erosion by gliding on the water's surface.
        State officials, though, say it will take not just a change in motors but a long-term public education plan to clean up the river. In fact, there is disagreement about whether bumping the horsepower limit from 35 to 50 might actually increase pollution regardless of a requirement that the motors meet 2006 Environmental Protection Agency standards.
        The Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comments about the proposal to list the river until Dec. 1, but officials say the data are compelling enough that if the state doesn't list the Kenai, the federal Environmental Protection Agency will.
        "We can't really pass the red-face test if we don't list it," said Timothy Stevens, a Department of Environmental Conservation water official who is the agency's representative on the Kenai River Special Management Area Advisory Board. That board has recommended that the Department of Natural Resources approve the more powerful motors and that all Kenai motors meet the latest pollution standards.
        According to DEC records, water at various points along the Kenai has exceeded state standards for petroleum on at least two days of July every year since sampling began in 2000. This year's high measurement was the most polluted yet, at more than 20 parts per billion, or roughly twice the limit.
        Steve McClure, president of the Kenai River Professional Guide Association, said the timing of the river's listing suggests that DEC wants to halt the proposed increase in horsepower. While DEC's official position on the horsepower issue is neutral, department employees have said boosting horsepower could result in dumping more unburned fuel.
        "This whole thing is coming out because somebody doesn't want to see the river go to 50 horsepower," McClure said. "It has nothing to do with emissions."
        The river is cleaner now than 15 years ago when more people ran inefficient two-stroke motors on it, he said: "I remember fishing out there when it was a big fog bank with all the emissions."
        Independent anglers, including Tarbox, suspect political pressure by guides and others who want faster river trips. He says the Murkowski administration -- set to leave office in a month -- is fast-tracking the proposal for 50-horsepower motors.
        "The time frame is being driven by political expediency," Tarbox said.
        Dwight Kramer, a former chairman of the citizens' Kenai-Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee, agrees. He notes that DEC announced its neutrality in the horsepower debate only after Ricky Gease, executive director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, wrote an Oct. 4 letter to state officials complaining that the agency was pushing the theory that larger motors would dump more fuel. Gease wrote that there was no testing to support the claim and "untested assumptions are not a solid basis on which to make sound public policy recommendations."
        Kramer's preference is to limit motorized fishing guides, whose numbers on the river have grown from 138 to 360 in the last 20 years, according to the Division of State Parks. He argues that even if guides have newer and cleaner motors than what "mom and pop" run, they're on the river much more often, and for 12 hours a day.
        The proposed change allowing 50-horsepower motors, with its requirement that all motors come up to 2006 standards, would push many occasional, independent anglers off the river, Kramer said.
        "I'm hoping we can raise public awareness to the point where DNR has to look at this thing and make some real assessments, instead of rushing into this 50-horsepower thing," he said.
        Tarbox said a reduction in the 700 or so boats that run the river on peak days is the surest way to reduce pollution. Cut the number of boats in half and no other changes would be necessary, he said.
        Eliminating two-strokes and older motors won't solve the problem, Tarbox said. "And yet, it will have a tremendous social cost, to primarily the private boat owner, and displace a lot of people."
        Gease argues that phasing out older and detuned motors while moving to 50 horsepower will help.
        "It's not an issue of guide versus nonguide. It's an issue of motors that are more polluting and motors that are less polluting," he said.
        "It's one step, in combination with other steps."
        Ken Lancaster, a former state representative from Soldotna and current chairman of the Kenai River advisory board, acknowledged that the board is trying to get the state to accept the change in horsepower while Murkowski is in office because he said the current commissioner at DNR has indicated support for it.
        Lancaster said the board was thinking of independent anglers when it forwarded its recommendation, which wouldn't phase out dirtier two-strokes until 2008. He said he worries that listing the river as impaired will harm its reputation, and he wishes DEC would wait to see whether the change to 2006-compliant motors will help.
        "Just the word 'impaired water body' raises everybody's eyebrows," Lancaster said.
        Tarbox, while applauding the listing as a call to action, also said it could dampen international enthusiasm for visiting the Kenai.
        McClure, the guide association's president, said he doubts the negative publicity will weigh heavier in anglers' minds than do the river's hefty kings.
        "People are still going to come fish the Kenai River," he said. "It's the most famous king salmon river in the world."
        Daily News reporter Brandon Loomis can be reached in the newspaper's Soldotna bureau at or 1-907-260-5215, ext. 24.


        • #19
          ..the article demonstrates that the debate on the Kenai is being played out much like a microcosm of the over-all national political debate.

          The attempt to try to divert the issue and portray it as something it's not is there....

          The demonization of various interest by competing interests is there...

          ...and those who would rather debate straw men before confronting the reality of the underlying facts in the decisions which brought the issue to the fore.

          Conflating the fuel in the river with the claim that it only warrants attention because 'someone' doesn't want 50 hp changes is precious.

          Too bad the article couldn't be written by one who would have presented a wider picture instead of highlighting the diversionary tactics being employed to smear the debate. ...but that's a fault that the national press is guilty of too, so I guess that's just how the 'news' is dispensed all over.

          Journalism is a lost art... tabloid entertainment seems the order of the day.


          • #20
            Illusion of Fear

            I always tend to take a step back when people are crying the "sky is falling, the sky is falling". The status quo absolutely eats up illusions of fear and the political forces know this and will exploit it at every turn. I don't see any group being objective, the environmental types will have their skewed agenda, the lodges/guides will have their agenda, and on down the line. It's just sad we need yet another government intervention, everywhere you turn is the face of new regulations, I am so sick of it I could puke. Good luck finding proper objective leadership and vision on this issue.
            Marc Theiler


            • #21
              remember the last time the sky was falling?

              that would have been this summer when supposedly the red salmon run "crashed".......... the state "scientists" were all over that one *LOL*

              Well said cabin......... this is a "sky is falling" issue

              The bottom line ....which the newspaper article does not point out..... is that the Alaska standard is 10X more stringent than the next most stringent state.....Oregon.........hardly a state that doesn't take the environment seriously

              This standard is exceeded a handful of days (or parts of days) during one month of the year

              There is no scientific basis to make the Alaska Water Quality Standard 10 times MORE restrictive as the next most stringent state..........that was a decision which was made a long time ago and it's something we're just going to have to live with because all this hand wringing and politics make it impossible to take a logical look at

              AKBighorn brought up some very valid points...........concerning the levels of BETEX which are actually hazardous...... which is not to say we should get anywhere CLOSE to those levels

              the FACT of the matter is the Kenai is in no real danger and calling it "polluted" is totally irresponsible and is by the "letter of the law" impaired..............because of our ridiculous standard there's really no option but to classify it as impaired

              The director of Water at DEC is a political appointee........that doesn't make her good or bad but it also does not make her any kind of scientific expert.......and I am not calling anybody a liar so don't put words in my mouth

              What kind of games?.........the exact games that are going on here

              The exact kind of games that you read about in the paper this morning

              Calling the rive "polluted" about inflammitory *laff*

              Anybody who thinks this entire process will not be driven by politics is delusional

              But if the problem needs to be addressed (by 2011)to keep the EPA off our back then the answer is so simple it's ridiculous.............get the polluting motors off the river.......

              If there are 2 stroke motors that meet the standards then fine......sticker them and let them on.......

              (I'm not sure where you got your information about 85% of the motors on the river being 4 stroke already but that certainly doesn't match my observations.......maybe 85% of guide boats.........certainly not anywhere CLOSE to 85% of private boats.)

              then if necessary start reducing the number of boats..............that can be done very easily by charging a fee to launch a boat on the river.........increasing that fee until the number of boats is reduced.........

              or go to some kind of lottery system for a day on the river.........

              all this because of a totally fabricated number to address a problem there is NO scientific evidence to there increased fuel in the livers of sculpins?.........of course there is.........that's because there is fuel in the water.........the only way there will NOT be elevated levels in the livers of sculpin is if there is NO fuel in the river........NONE...........period

              it's humorous because we're going to see all sorts of posturing and manuevering be each side to do not what is best (or necessary)for the river but to do what is best for them..........

              the other thing that makes it "humorous" to me is's so stupid you just have to laugh about it.........

              the other thing that makes it humorous is exactly your point nerka......all this fuss about a problem that is not really a problem meanwhile the real threats to the Kenai river are being pretty much ignored

              at the end of the day ...... when I want to go fishing......I'll go in whatever kind of boat winds up being required........and yes I will chuckle a little over all this fuss


              • #22
                who said the sky is falling

                I do not think one person has said the sky is falling. What has been said is that this is a serious issue.

                Environmental groups are not even involved at this point - the Watershed Forum was under contract/grant to conduct the sampling. That report is scientific and well done. The major environment groups of Alaska have not even taken a position as far as I know.

                DEC is the agency that should take responsibility for this issue. The listing requires them to make a recovery plan. Is anyone disputing the fact the river has violated the standard and something needs to be done?

                It appears to me that to be sick of regulations would prompt some action on the part of users to self regulate but we know that will not happen in using a common resource. Hardin wrote about the law of the commons years ago.

                Guide numbers continue to grow, the personal use boat fishery is growing, the habitat damage from development is on going in the watershed, and people are still in denial about the impact of high density use of the lower river. Fourteen years ago ADF&G was sounding an alarm on fuel in the river. What happened? Nothing until an independent group started to look again.

                I guess when one shines a light under a rock one may find all types of critters. Some just do not like the light of exposure.

                However, having said that it is time to discuss what should be done in a comprehensive way to deal with this issue. It is not going away and so serious discussions that will impact hundreds of people need to start. I hope it will not be ugly.


                • #23
                  I hope

                  I win the lottery tonight........

                  *LOL*......... I like my chances there better


                  • #24
                    Here is the data AkCheese

                    You asked about the 85% 4 stroke motors so here are the data.

                    On 7/11/2006 boat counts at 10:30 am 88.8% 4 stroke 11.2% 2 stroke

                    7/18/2006 - time 14:33 --84.4% 4 stroke 15.6% 2 stroke

                    7/21/2006 time 12:30 --71.7% 4 stroke 28.3% 2 stroke - this percent change was due to the personal use fishery which is below the area the proposed 50hp regulation impacts

                    7/25/2006- time 11:00 - 87.5% 4 stroke 12.5% 2 stroke

                    The Personal use boat fishery was in full operation only on 7/21 so in 2006 within the area the 50 hp covers the percent of 2 stroke was actually less than 15%. These data are from boat counts by the Watershed Forum while they were sampling.

                    AkCheese - you keep saying that there is no science to the regulation. However, science requires that you present data to support your conclusion. You have presented no data to support the idea that Oregon standard is better than Alaska, only that they are different.

                    However, DEC, DNR, and ADF&G when they reviewed the actual data came to the conclusion that Alaska's standard is fine and maybe should be lowered to 1-2 ppb. Lets see your data AkCheese to say otherwise. In science if you lead with your mouth you need to back it up with data.

                    Relative to the polluted comment that is DEC language. Following is the language DEC uses in the fact sheet for Category 5 waters.

                    Every 2 years DEC is required to report on the condition of Alaska’s waters in accordance with the Clean Water
                    Act. The Integrated Report categorizes known waterbodies in Alaska and includes the federal Clean Water Act
                    (CWA) reporting requirements for the 305(b) report and 303(d) list of Category 5 polluted waters.

                    Since the Kenai River is a Category 5 polluted water the term is correct. Again AkCheese you state things without knowledge of the terms or issues. Not helping the forum or the conversation.

                    Finally, getting 2 stroke motors off the river does not solve the problem. The proposed regulation deals only with that area above the Warren Aims Bridge. As noted in the data for the river (if you want to read it the data are available) a major source of pollution is below the area this regulation will impact. Here is one sampling date 7/21/2006 - River Mile 7 --12.1ppb at 15:10, at River Mile 1.5 at 18:15 the level was 20.2 ppb. The personal use boat fishery was in full swing with boat counts of 718 for the whole river.

                    In addition, DEC, DNR, and ADF&G have to be wrong on their assessment of what going to 50hp will do for you to be right. Could be but you have presented no data to support your position. DEC handed out their analysis at the public meeting for all to see and comment on. They concluded that it will take a reduction in boats to acheive the standard.

                    While there are other significant stresses to the river the idea one should ignore these data is not the correct route. We should resolve the issue of fuel in the water and those other issues.

                    Relative to sculpins I guess you should read the report first. It states that the samples were high relative levels of enzyme activity , and as compared to induced samples in the laboratory (Paige 1992). That means AkCheese that exposure to any fuel would not mean elevated levels as you so strongly state. The reference is to induced samples in the laboratory and they were relatively high. So you are wrong again in your opinion. That is why I typed the whole quote in an earlier post.

                    I do not expect people to understand all the issues of this topic but denial that a problem exist - which you are doing AkCheese - is like a drug user saying he has no problem. We need to get past the denial to get to the solution.

                    Have not heard if you plan to post that bond AkCheese.


                    • #25
                      Post a bond?

                      I have no idea what that refers to *laff*
                      why on earth would I post a bond ?

                      you want data?...........where is the data that supports the 10 ppb limit?

                      Where is it?

                      Where is the "data" that supports this assertion that limit should be lower??

                      There is zip nadda........

                      Anybody who spends much time on the river at all knows that 85% of boats are NOT running 4 stroke motors.......

                      Go out when the majority of boats on the water are guide boats and you might find those numbers.......especially on a short stretch of river

                      you've cited 4 casual observations by some water samplers??

                      thats your "data"
                      actually that's fairly typical of what passes for "data" in the fuzzy world of "environmental science"

                      say things over and over enough and it begins to take on the semblance of fact

                      like saying there is a scientific basis for the 10 ppb limit.........there is none.....go back and find where this limit came from

                      it was plucked out of thin air.......somebody put it in regulation and it became so

                      people just need to be aware of that especially when people starty throwing around words like "polluted"

                      There's an agenda here

                      People need to be aware of that..........

                      You keep talking about data........there's no data to suggest that the elevated fuel levels in the river a few days out of the year are having a negative impact on fish.........or anything else

                      This is strictly a "violation" of an arbitrary limit that was set years ago with no scientific basis.........

                      That violation triggers placing the river on the list as impaired........

                      Who wins and loses here will depend on how skillfully they play the game.....

                      let the games begin..........

                      sure hope it doesn't get nasty though *lol*


                      • #26
                        7-11 7-18 7-25

                        all Tuesdays....after the river has been closed to ALL fishing on Monday (and guide boats on Sunday).........every guide boat available is on the river those days

                        those are also the days of highest boat traffic for the entire year

                        nice random sample *laff*

                        which might explain why the water samplers counted the motors they did......I'm sure they did a very thorough job of identifying and counting every boat they passed that day *lol*

                        a lot of "locals" (including myself on many occaissions) are out on the river "dumping" fuel into the water through their 2 stroke motors prior to 6AM when guides can go out........a lot of them are OFF the river by 9 AM or so to go to work or because they don't care to be out there with all the guide boats ......especially since they can fish before and after the guides are allowed on the river........of course by that time the fuel is already in the water.........and mostly what you have left for your water samplers to count are guide boats......


                        • #27
                          Data and procedures.

                          AkCheese, you keep throwing stones. Talking about no data, pulling things out of the air, sticking with guidelines by those evil professionals within the DEC, and on and on and on. Yet you provide not one bit of evidence to support your claim - a quote from a DEC employee would be fine, a google search that shows no data of impacts of TAH on aquatic organisms, a memo or email showing a total lack of professionalism in setting the standard - something. You have nothing.

                          Relative to the boat counts the highest count was done on Friday. The counts were done on days the water was sampled, not by the water samplers. The count was a total lower river count and compared to ADF&G counts for the day. Also, aerial pictures were taken to verify counts. Just so others know the counts were done on the river and via aerial photos and checked and cross checked.

                          Relative to fuel levels in the river and impacts on aquatic organisms you want to see an impact before you react. That is the typical user approach - keep pushing a system until it breaks and then wonder why someone did not do anything. The fact that this river is stress is the issue and a comprehensive plan to deal with all of the stresses is needed.

                          Now you say the majority of two stroke engines are off the river by morning and the fuel remains. Funny at 5-7 knots of current the fuel should be well downstream of River Mile 7 and other sampling points by the afternoon samples if it comes from the morning activity with 2 strokes. Yet there it is in high concentrations at 15:00 hours at River Mile 7.

                          Your observations and comments about anybody who runs the river knows this or that are not supported by any data. That statement has no validity by itself. At least those who are working on the river have counts and documentation. You can question when they counted you cannot question the percentages when they counted.

                          You keep saying people have an agenda - I agree - mine is to have a clean river, without habitat damage from overuse, and a resource my grandkids can enjoy. What is your agenda AkCheese?


                          • #28
                            Couple of questions....

                            If there were only a few days that the river exceded the standard, I wonder for how many hours it was exceded.

                            I posted part of an MSDS for fuel and humans. In any MSDS they talk about allowable limits in time. If the standard was exceded is there an allowable time? I'm asking because most boats aren't on the river 24/7.

                            Any chance samples were taken above the areas where motors are allowed to set a baseline?

                            Have to wonder how much is coming from vehicles sunken in Skilak etc.

                            If the standard was only exceeded a couple of days out of 365 days a year does it really need to be reclassified? Seems like we could implement some steps to start taking better care of it now.


                            • #29
                              AkCheese wrong again.

                              AkCheese, you keep saying there are no data to support the standard. Well, I went to the DEC home page and then to the Division of Water and from there to their publication that presents data to support the standard. The document is available on the web and is entitled:

                              Acute and Chronic Toxicity of Hydrocarbons in Marine and Freshwaters With an emphasis on Alaska Species A Review of the Literature by P. Weber Scannell, D Dasher, L. Duffy, R Perkins, and T O'Hara. The document reviewed over 40 recent studies and is over 200 pages in length. In addition, the authors are all experts on hydrocarbons and impacts on aquatic life. In the document they talk about why Alaska has higher standards and why other States have not done the work that needs to be done - your Oregon example AkCheese - The study was published in January of 2005.

                              AkCheese lets cut it out about the no data arguement. If you can read technical documents-it is on the web. They make a sound case for the standard. It is defendable, has been peer reviewed, is published for all to see, and was written by experts in the field - end of story.


                              • #30
                                Bizarre thinking?

                                Originally posted by AKCheese View Post
                                let the games begin..........sure hope it doesn't get nasty though *lol*
                                Well, no one can say that the DEC's listing of the Kenai River as impaired hasn't spawned some genuinely creative thinking. Good grief, who would have thought the Kenai's pollution problem is sunken cars in Skilak Lake?

                                A bit more curious is the anarchistic and abusive attitude toward federal and state standards, environmental science and policy and claims of political agendas. If such charges are to be made, please be specific—what agenda and by whom? Who is trying to accomplish what? Please don't leave us guessing as to what's being implied.

                                But most curious are the references to the DEC's listing as a "game" as in "let the games begin..........sure hope it doesn't get nasty though *lol*" What does this mean? What game? And "nasty"? What does that mean? Please, don't speak in bizarre innuendo—what are you saying?


                                Footer Adsense