The newly-appointed Kenai River Late Run King Salmon Management plan task force hasn’t yet held its first meeting, but the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is already receiving criticism. Environmental watchdog agency Cook Inletkeeper says the Department is looking in the wrong direction.
Cook Inletkeeper’s Terry Jorgensen said the Department should be focused the state of freshwater habitats in salmon run health.
Jorgensen: “I think we really need to start looking at the habitat, which is something we can, we can work on, and they just haven’t done that. I’m also very concerned that we’re not relying on professional biologists enough.”
Jorgensen pointed to the proposed Chuitna coal strip mine, which he said would remove 11 miles of salmon streams and irreversibly pollute the Chuitna River.
We brought this concern to Eric Volk, Fisheries Scientist with the ADF&G.
Volk: “There’s probably a number of other places where people could cite specific environmental concerns, and those are important. We’re trying to get a broader, statewide picture, to try to understand even what the level of these declines look like right now.”
The task force will hold their first meeting, open to the public, from 9am to 5pm this Friday at Kenai Peninsula College’s Soldotna campus in the Ward Building.