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Gear type vs. Habitat

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  • Gear type vs. Habitat

    I continue to be amazed at the level of attention the harvest issues get compared to habitat issues. Here is yesterdayís point-in-case. ADFG surveyed this culvert in 2001 and recommended it be removed. The Kenai Watershed Forum repeated this exercise in 2006. While no one could have predicted this would happen this spring, Mom removed it yesterday.

    It really hosed a small King Salmon rearing tributary to the Kenai, where Iíve also seen adult coho, and didnít do the Kenai River any favors either. Why isnít there more of a commitment to address these types of problems, before they really tear stuff up?

    My observation is that everyone talks habitat, but its most often in the context of jockeying for more favored allocation to their gear type.

    Never posted photos before... The first is looking upstream from the Kenai Spur Hwy. about 20 minutes after the culvert blew, the second is in the Kenai about 100 yards downstream of the Pillars Launch in about thigh deep water, the plume headed downstream just like this as far as I could see past eagle rock.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Where was the culvert and who removed it? Did the river center issue a permit for the removal?


    • #3
      Mother nature

      Originally posted by gusdog44 View Post
      Where was the culvert and who removed it? Did the river center issue a permit for the removal?
      I think mother nature took it out. However, it was due to a blocked culvert and probably not installed correctly - size or level - Lorax would know this more than I do.

      The question is and Lorax is correct - some groups have millions of dollars and they do not spend it on habitat that increases fish production. The KPB lack of regulations contribute to this as does the lack of State of Alaska enforcement.

      Maybe the Kenai Peninusla Habitat Partnership can work toward a better system.


      • #4
        LORAX could you give us a little more information??


        • #5
          I'll try

          One of several dozens of culverts across the Kenai Peninsula that are not designed or maintained to accommodate the needs of our road system, much less the needs of juvenile salmon washed out on Friday. It was likely due to the accumulation of trash in creek that stacked up against the inlet of the pipe. You should walk some of the creeks to see what kind of crap winds up in these streams, you only think the roads are bad because it gets hydroaxed and you can see it in the spring.

          This time, the water backed up to ~15 feet deep and caused the road prism to saturate, overtop and fail in one big swoop. Sending a couple hundred yards of road fill into a relatively small stream. It buried the stream for short distance and for a while ADOT was nervous about the Spur Hwy as it appeared that those culverts got blocked when the upstream dam broke. Fortunately those pipes burped and drained under the road and on the river it went.

          This happens every year on some salmon stream on the Peninsula, this one happened to hit the Kenai, last year it was Daniels Creek, the year before it was Stariski, the year before...

          I'm sure the stream will recover in a couple of years, I've seen it happen many times. It just shouldn't happen as frequently as it does and it wouldn't if there were better policies and even an iota of regulatory will in the boro or state agencies. Its not the boots on the ground that lacks the will, its higher up.


          • #6
            I see an opportunity

            Now here is an issue we can all surely agree upon. I extend my gratitude and respect to lorax for starting this post. Any of us who consider the streams on the peninsula to be important should be willing to join forces and get this issue the attention it deserves. Maybe the organizations on the peninsula here that work hard on their "agenda" would deem this issue worthy of partnering with the organizations they usually "fight" against to work together for a common goal that would be of benefit to the fish and in the end of benefit to all of us who enjoy them. Officers or board members from KAFC, KRSA, KFA, KRPGA, UCIDA, UFA, South Central Alaska Dipnetters Association.... sorry if I missed anyone, should all be picking up the phone and calling not only "the authorities", but each of the other groups in an attempt to all work together with no other agenda other than to champion the cause for the fish and the habitat. It may even be a way for some of these groups members to get to know their "neighbors" in a positive way.... Since I don't belong to any organizations I don't know where to start..... but if I did I can guarantee you that I would be placing some calls first thing Monday morning. If any members or officers of any of these organizations would be interested in engaging my help in any way I am here and willing to help.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Nerka View Post
              The question is and Lorax is correct - some groups have millions of dollars and they do not spend it on habitat that increases fish production. .
              Are you talking abouut KAFC? What "groups" are you referring to?


              • #8
                Hey guys......lets try and have one thread that doesn't descend into organization bashing. We all need to be together on this. Yukon and Nerka - how about putting away the daggers just this once?

                Some organizations have been working on the culverts for several years.....KWF and KRSA have both done a lot to provide information to the borough and state and have workied to get funding to replace culverts that are not allowing fish passage or doing like the one lorax started this thread about.

                I'd suggest we individually contact Doug Schoessler, borough roads czar, and find out what he plans to do with the information he already has. I realize he just took over from Gary Davis but he should have a pretty good idea of how critical this issue is by now. A few dozen phone calls might move this closer to the top of his to-do list. I'm not sure who to contact at the state DOT, who have the most problem culverts, but I'll bet someone on here could tell us........


                • #9
                  I agree Gusdog. I just wasn't sure which "groups" Nerka was talking about and I was "detecting" blame in Nerka's statement. No need to respond Nerka, the bottom line is to fix the problem, not assign blame.


                  • #10
                    just to be clear

                    I agree that we should contact someone but I think it should be the mayor for KPB roads - he recently indicated that he may not put 100,000 dollars in the budget to replace defective culverts. KWF can increase this to 400,000 by using the 100,000 as a match. Not sure why Dave will not do this or at least indicated he may not do it.

                    Nexr, the city mayor and councils should be made aware that they have a respoinsibility to fix culverts on their streets. Recently one gov representative said in public he does not want to fix perched culverts that block fish as a designation as a salmon stream prohibits development. Is that the type of representative one wants. Most people do not show up at the city council meetings to just tell them this is important. The good news is the City of Kenai will be given a presentation on this by the task force they formed a few months back.

                    Gov agencies llike ADF&G, DEC, and DOT must enforce the rules and make this a priority. Too many times they favor allocation of funds to other projects and ignore existing problems or they let things fall through the cracks.

                    All of these are defined in the recent Kenai Peninsula Habitat partnership plan but it will take on the ground workers to implement the policy changes.

                    Finally, the group comment was to be inclusive of all groups. For example the Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Funds have million of dollars but only a small portion goes to this type of work, the federal and state governments - for example ADF&G does not even request funds from the general fund to do this type of work, and there are private groups like national environmental groups and local groups who fund lots of projects on allocation issues ( I am including all users here) but little on habitat - for Yukon I did inlcude KAFC, UCIDA< KRSA, KPFA, Cook Inlet Caucus, in the group. KAFC may only have 4,000 in the bank but we have never put any money toward replacing a culvert -


                    • #11
                      Thanks Nerka, I agree 100&#37;. It takes efforts from all groups with an interest in fish and habitat. I am disappointed to hear a local politician (I think he is) with that point of view about replacing culverts. The bottom line is people need to get involved at the local level and voice their concerns and demand for action to be taken.


                      • #12
                        What is needed?

                        IMHO is not to focus on a solution to this one site, that's easy and it'll get taken care of. The more important issue is the scores of others that will play out like this in the future. This scenario happens because of a lack of will to require the responsible party (private landowner, ADOT, local govts., etc.) that they need to take action to prevent damage to trust resources. This case is a good example of both the State DFG and a local group pointing out that this private ATV was inadequate and needed attention, but nothing happened. The local ADOT crew tried to take care of it, but got stymied by liability concerns. There is another one like this on a trib to Stariski that I can't believe is still holding.

                        The groups on the Kenai came together with a unified voice on KPB road policies a little over a year ago with respect to new road construction. However those improved policies did not address existing roads and the need to take corrective actions before failures occur.

                        This is not an issue just for the Kenai Boro, but all of Alaska and anywhere there are roads across running waters.


                        • #13
                          I'm glad we are getting back on track-

                          Lorax we are concerned about all of Alaska but those of us who live on the Kenai Peninsula are most concerned about our local area.....just like the Mat-Su salmon partnership is with the valley.

                          The reason I suggest we talk with Doug and the DOT person is so we can find out what is already planned and not spend time working on things that are on the way to being fixed. I know Doug pretty well and he will also let people know where we can help him. I don't know anyone at DOT except Leo vonSchaben - the commissioner - and we don't play well together.

                          I'll talk to Doug on Monday and post what he has to say. Will someone else do that with DOT? I know the KWF executive director monitors this forum and perhaps he or one of his members can share their list of "bad" culverts with us. The executive director of KRSA is out of town for vacation so can't get info from him until he returns.

                          Once we have that information we can then go to our politicians and see what results we can bring about. They can always be replaced and we should start naming names when we have documented information about negative hearsay.

                          Lets make this thread about taking action. We have a lot of very intelligent members with a lot of connections that could help make this happen.


                          • #14
                            I called the borough this morning and Mr. Schoessler was not available - I am waiting for a call back. I called the river center and their receptionist said they weren't involved (!) and to contact the KWF. I called Robert Ruffner and left a message on his cell phone requesting he call me and help start the information flowing. I think if we all can get together for a change we can help the river and help get some faster action going on the culverts that KWF and others have identified and, hopefully, prioritized for replacement.

                            Has anyone made any contacts with DOT or the Mat-Su salmon partnership?
                            Last edited by gusdog44; 05-04-2009, 11:48. Reason: speling


                            • #15
                              I just spoke with Robert Ruffner. KWF will host a meeting in the next few days about the culverts to let us kn0w what they have found and enlist our help getting our legislators and DOT off the dime and working more rapidly. I was told that the culvert that failed was identified and DOT was notified over 6 years ago and still nothing happened. Thats just wrong. I hope any of you who are interested will be able to attend.


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