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Mat Valley Moose Range/Wasilla Cr. Salmon Habitat Conditions

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  • #61
    Bass turds..... dirty bass turds!
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    The KeenEye MD

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    • #62
      And even more dip'$h!tery....

      https://www.facebook.com/AlaskaOutdo...7816061296992/
      "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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      The KeenEye MD

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      • #63
        That video is from two years ago...

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        • #64
          Originally posted by fishNphysician View Post
          I think it's a shame when people pull this kind of crap.
          And I think that part of it is an attitude thing and how they were raised.
          Also what that video shows is that incidents like this are an enforcement issue as well.
          It's illegal for them to be there in a motorized vehicle. Signs are posted at all the entrances so there's no doubt that they knew what they were doing was illegal.
          But they did it anyway and likely would have gotten away with it had they not gotten stuck.
          Adding more laws to an area like this isn't going to stop idiots like that as they are not following the laws that are already on the books and posted on signs in the area.

          Sent from my S60 using Tapatalk
          "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

          "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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          • #65
            2019 Update

            (Caveat - I've been out of state for two months with a younger brother as he faced his last days, so some things in this update may have changed in that time.)

            In the spring I was told by a MSB Assembly member that "... this project was on hold."

            Around the first of August I was told by an interested third party organization, "You will get a chance to comment on the Plan in the Fall".

            On September 8th I visited upper Wasilla Cr. headwaters via east access to view current conditions. Only one fish was viewed on this trip, making its way through shallow turbid waters at a severely degraded crossing. Shallow waters, hot temperatures, and ripped habitat are taking their toll.

            On September 12th I attended the Mat-Su Transportation Fair as the "Wasilla Creek Headwaters Trail" was listed as one of the displays:
            *I learned the project was not at all "..on hold". MSB is still engineering bridges for stream crossings, but is still offering zero solutions for the torn up complex interconnected wetlands systems between major crossings that support salmon rearing.
            *MSB has cornered some USFWS funds.
            *A Division of Wildlife Conservation official refused my offered photos of the area - this, right after the hottest and driest month on record. I was emphatically told, regarding my phone conversation in August with Clark Cox, DNR SC Manager - "That's a lie!" (I would prefer to think there was some misunderstanding or lack of agency interaction.)
            I was informed that DWC will seek a grant to rewrite the Moose Range Plan because "That plan is ancient" with no other reasons offered, but with an admission that another in that office did not agree that the original plan was faulty. No stranger to management proprieties, this was not an exchange I expected of a professional.

            I believe the original comprehensive, expensive plan was very good. However, it was Never enforced. Are we to believe enforcement will attend a new plan?
            Why pay for a new plan if the existing one is good? Applying for grants and going through an extensive rewrite (in both time and money) does, however, keep people employed.
            This process has been tainted from the beginning of the closed door, off the official agenda, special interest meetings. A MSB employee told me this piece was one named person's doing. Now it is the familiar runaway train being 'stewarded' by ingrained, but not necessarily reasonable, institutional process.

            It could have been this simple:

            "Mat-Su Moose Range Plan: Wetlands


            d. Access. Access through wetland buffers and wetlands will be allowed
            only on winter ice roads for recreation, habitat enhancement, forest
            product harvest and other activities as approved by ADF&G and DNR."

            Mat Su is locked in a constant state of losing valuable fish habitat through our ponderous means. Abusers get rewarded and conservationists 'put in their place'.

            Watch for chance to submit your comments on any developing plan.

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            "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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            • #66
              September 2019

              Re: the 2019 Update posted.
              During most years numerous returning salmon and juveniles are seen in these locations, as well as considerably upstream from them.


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              "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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              • #67
                Originally posted by 68 Bronco View Post
                Mat Su is locked in a constant state of losing valuable fish habitat through our ponderous means. Abusers get rewarded and conservationists 'put in their place'.



                [ATTACH=CONFIG]98547[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]98548[/ATTACH]
                Discouraging that d!p$h!ttery continues unabated. Stupid is as stupid does.

                Beyond sad. Keep fighting the good fight, Bronco.
                "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                sigpic
                The KeenEye MD

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                • #68
                  Mat Su Borough at last posted today under Public Notices and Announcements:
                  https://www.matsugov.us/publicnotice/wcht-notice

                  The 'Documents" link will do nothing, but tucked away on page 4 of 'Projects' turns this up:
                  https://www.matsugov.us/projects/was...adwaters-trail
                  "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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                  • #69
                    Progress?

                    Sounds like a small step in the right direction.
                    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
                    sigpic
                    The KeenEye MD

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                    • #70
                      Meeting Summary

                      This first meeting since the KTUU news story of 2016 with a the descriptor 'Public' in front of it is a step forward and the folks making it happen are greatly appreciated - they are trying and talks are helpful. The turn out was quite good in spite of the heavy snow, unusually short notice, bad document links, and difficulty many had in navigating info on the Borough pages.

                      F&G, MSB, and USFWS participated. DNR did not and the consensus of the presenters was that they have little interest in doing so. LE was not present to my knowledge.

                      The presentation included piecemeal solutions to accommodate ongoing, illegal, damaging activities and efforts to reduce those damages. These will help, but are are not long term solutions meeting standards of Alaska's Sustainable Salmon Policy 5ACC 39.222. How the number and participants of prior 'off-calendar' meetings has effected this trajectory remains unknown to the public, inspite of my documented efforts for transparency.

                      The meeting format did not present opportunity for the much needed in-depth discussions, or testimony and document gathering. More meetings should do so. However, questions were gathered during the presentation, read following and brief answers offered where possible. (It was awkward trying to formulate questions while being attentive to the presentation.)

                      Takeaway: 'Yes, it would be nice if we ever get to move the 'trails' out of the wetlands. But there is no money and there will be no additional enforcement planned at this time beyond the current State Trooper role.'

                      These wetlands and small creeks are still not being addressed as the contiguous, valuable fish hatchery that the original Plan delineates and has language to protect.

                      Illegal damages will continue for the foreseeable future. 1986 - till ?? The situation is complex and the multi agency/many players approach currently is no less than chaotic.
                      Not following the 1986 comprehensive Moose Range Plan has been a huge mistake.

                      I have no idea as to how to get an effective whole watershed based approach out front in this weak management arena.
                      One example: A USFWS designed low water crossing - and right around the corner from it, mud bogging holes and churned wetlands for thousands of yards that will not be addressed pending funds that will likely never appear, as the expenses will be huge. Funding for enforcement is equally unlikely. Perhaps some rethinking is in order, rather than baby steps?

                      More to say later regarding possible solutions, quotes from biologists throughout this issue, and some questions that may deserve answering. ....
                      "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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                      • #71
                        Ok, I've procrastinated enough ...

                        I had planned to visit a few of the officials responsible for habitat, planning, administrating, funding, enforcement, etc. to attempt getting updated information on the trajectory and complexities of this 'process' regarding the future of Wasilla Creek wetlands and to offer the opportunity to provide concise answers. However, with this virus lockdown impacting our lives, that is now not a practical choice.
                        I am grateful for this Forum as a resource making it possible to reach out to many! Again, I would rather have discussed in person to entities and folks that may be referenced here by inference or name. An open letter of sorts:

                        Additional observations and questions re: Mat Su Borough's recent scoping meeting:

                        A grant of $10,000 from Mat Su Health Foundation via Mat Su Parks and Trails states:

                        "The Moose Range is used by many user types and spans multiple agency jurisdictions. This funding is helping facilitate stakeholder meetings that will result in a way for the public to participate in the future of the area."

                        Will the public get to meaningfully participate?

                        The MSB Scoping Meeting did not allow for gathering actual testimony, but only questions. An attendee with long term experience in many public meetings regarding resource conservation categorized MSB's presentation as "noncommittal".
                        There were no long-term alternatives whispered for sustainability of this fish producing watershed. Only one trail reroute on the west boundary of the wetlands is proposed, while little attention was given to the east side access and extensive damages to wetlands throughout. Other than the one reroute, only bridges and a hardened low water crossing are planned. Between those are extreme and illegal damages that will only be enabled and legitimized by those bridges.

                        Does USFWS realize that right around the corner from their proposed low water crossing and all the way to the next bridge there exists extensive wetlands and trails damages with vehicle 'ditching' that even 4-wheelers cannot navigate, as well as fresh water flows feeding Wasilla Creek? Is their mission and grant to result in supporting this scene? Are they aware that the Matanuska Moose Range Plan has strict guidelines to protect these wetlands ?

                        The section on Public Participation in the Moose Range Plan provides stark contrast to what has occurred so far, beginning with MSB closed door special interest meetings up until this first public Scoping Meeting of short and faulty notices.

                        How many of these off-calendar meetings occurred and who was invited; the result being disguised among "Nine Trails" on the recreation bond? Alaska Outdoor Council was there. See my discussion with Division of Wildlife Conservation's Supervisor (post 65), who said they had many meetings including DNR. And yet DWC's Regional Management Coordinator said that DNR is not participating in MSB's actions as did the presenter at the Scoping Meeting. Confusing. Answers from DNR are needed.

                        How does MSB justify supporting illegal uses though their actions sans agreement with DNR, the overriding land manager??
                        MSB's presenter did so thusly, we "...are allowed to build recreational facilities in the Moose Range." - no mention that the Borough is allowed to participate if given approval by DNR AND F&G! Note that it was confirmed that no additional (troopers as usual) Enforcement is in the works. Enforcement of ORV violations to fish habitat and associated wetlands is, of course, greatly hindered by no registration and visible licensing.

                        Does MSB have an ADL easement from DNR specifying the route and allowed uses for the 'trail' eviscerating this area?
                        Is not a CWA 404 Permit required ? Will weight limits be considered?
                        DNR's Cliff Larson, "There is no dry way through there." Anadromy maps have been extended, the Moose Range Plan is still in force and the problems are glaring. (I took some lg. posters of East end damages to the meeting, but could only spread them out haphazardly on the entry railings.)

                        Having watched this for years and eventually triggering the TV News story mentioned in my first post, as well as seeing the mistakes made in the Knik watershed process, plus the Kachemak Bay threat - the parallels in tactics and messy processes subject to questionable manipulations are disheartening. Important resources are at risk.

                        Mat Su Borough's trajectory on this seems rogue at best. It cannot be viewed as a long term solution and that needs corrected. The actual Managers of the area need step up and either put the brakes on this haphazard action altogether or, better yet, participate appropriately to find tenable solutions.

                        Fish First !

                        More to post, unfortunately ...
                        "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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                        • #72

                          Update : Wasilla Creek Trail - Public Comment Opportunity


                          " Good afternoon,


                          The Mat-Su Borough would like to share with you the following project-related updates and announcements on the Wasilla Creek Headwaters Trail project.
                          1. We are about halfway through our open public comment period for the final design. If you have not had a chance to submit your comments through our online survey, now is a great time to make sure the design team hears your voice. A link to this survey can be found at the bottom of the project website. A link to that website is included below. The goal of the project is to protect critical habitat through the use of sustainable infrastructure to prevent future degradation of Wasilla Creek's vital resources and protect user access. Acquiring feedback from those who use this area plays a critical roll in the development of features that will accommodate all user groups.
                          2. A link to the project PowerPoint presentation which was shared at the public open house in March is available for you to view.
                          3. Responses from the planning team to public comments that were received during the public open house and the online survey will be posted to the website soon.
                          4. Finally, please check the website for additional updates on the planning and permitting progress.
                          https://www.matsugov.us/43-projects/...adwaters-trail

                          Please feel free to share any of this information with your friends and fellow user group members. If you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time.

                          Best regards,
                          Marie "

                          mhulse@corvus-design.com
                          "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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                          • #73
                            The MSB website mentions a goal to "restore wetlands", which is contingent on future planning, funding, permitting, political will, etc. - some or all of which may not materialize.
                            Realizing this goal with these future uncertainties and building of bridges/crossings for motor vehicles within these wetlands that ensure continuing damaging travel through them on exposes potentially fatal flaws in this approach.
                            The answers to these conundrums exist in the responsibly processed Moose Range Plan of 35 years ago. The process currently underway selectively looks away from those important official decisions and requirements. The wetlands on the East end are being largely ignored so far, even though F&G and MSB employees have both been stuck on machines in attempts to traverse the 'route.'
                            There are some hard questions needing posed regarding the future of these headwaters and I encourage folks to ask them in the survey. Again, do compare this with the public and comprehensive process afforded the original plan.

                            Here are some quotes I promised from habitat officials and others gathered over several years of effort on this and like projects:


                            "There is no dry way through there" - Cliff Larson, DNR Aug. 22, 2016

                            "Enough is enough" - Ron Benkert in 2016 upon receipt of my photo documentation and while he was Palmer F&G Permitting head, now Regional Supervisor.
                            (Ron has been a terrific advocate for solutions)

                            "The borough has not determined which 'hardening' method would be most appropriate." - regarding the question of a viable way to restore trails through wetlands.

                            "I'll make sure that this is corrected going forward." - John Moosey, MSB Manager in reply to questioning off calendar, closed door, special interest meetings regarding public lands.

                            Hugh Leslie, MSB, "Published on all relevant social media sites" Yours, truly, " The relevant social media sites" are _______??" - regarding off calendar meetings again.
                            No Reply.

                            "According to the FRPA temporary logging roads must be closed to vehicle traffic. They should have the equipment available to block this crossing. " - former habitat biologist, Palmer, whose identity I choose to spare.

                            "DNR is insane until they get some real enforcement out there." - Director of Sport Fish

                            "This is the first I have heard of it" - Ron Benkert again, regarding learning 3 days before the voting on the MSB Rec Bond burying this project in 'Nine Trails' proposal.

                            "Nice story but it is ridiculous to provide access for half a dozen people on 4-wheelers that end up damaging fish habitat and eliminating access for anyone else ..." - protected Habitat biologist regarding the KTUU TV news story.

                            'Nerka', on these forums, " ..... over 90% of the mortality of salmon will occur in freshwater from egg to smolt. So the concentration on fresh water is justified."



                            Of special note, MSB is proposing no added enforcement measures for this undertaking, nor have yet met the Moose Range Plan's requirements for compliance and permissions from DNR and F&G.


                            Enough.
                            As one can imagine, I have a great deal more documentation in many forms on what has gone on regarding Upper Wasilla Cr., but was never invited as 'whisteblower' or 'stakeholder' to the MSB meetings attended by access advocates in off- calendar meetings until Mat Su Trails and Parks funded these latest efforts for public input.

                            Processes need reform if results with integrity and equity are to be attainable.











                            "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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