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SCR 9: Creating the Taku River Task Force as a joint legislative task force.

00                    SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 9                                                                   
01 Creating the Taku River Task Force as a joint legislative task force.                                                   
02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                               
03       WHEREAS the Taku River is Southeast Alaska's largest overall salmon producer,                                   
04 with the region's largest run of coho and chinook salmon and significant runs of sockeye,                               
05 chum, and pink salmon, and eulachon; and                                                                                
06       WHEREAS the state tide and submerged land of the Taku River are crucial to the                                  
07 spawning, incubation, and rearing of all five species of wild Pacific salmon, trout, and char;                          
08 and                                                                                                                     
09        WHEREAS private recreational property in the Taku River valley represents a                                    
10 valued cultural element of the area; and                                                                                
11       WHEREAS existing property rights, uses, and access must be protected in all future                              
12 plans for the Taku River area; and                                                                                      
13       WHEREAS data from the Department of Fish and Game indicates that 40 to 50                                       
14 percent of juvenile salmon in the Taku River watershed are reared below the confluence of the                           
15 Tulsequah River, with the majority of juvenile king salmon rearing occurring in the main                                
16 channel of the lower Taku River; and                                                                                    
01       WHEREAS personal use and sport hunting, fishing, and trapping, and the use of                                   
02 recreational personal watercraft and vehicles and aircraft constitute longstanding uses of the                          
03 Taku River valley; and                                                                                                  
04       WHEREAS those uses should be protected and secured for future generations; and                                  
05       WHEREAS the Alaska portion of the Taku River supports significant personal use,                                 
06 commercial, and sport fisheries, generating over 400 fishing-related jobs, an estimated                                 
07 $8,000,000 of annual income from commercial and recreational fishing activity, and more                                 
08 than $25,000,000 from all activities associated with those fisheries; and                                               
09       WHEREAS established businesses use the Taku River to provide supplies to                                        
10 recreational property owners and engage in tourism and sport fishing enterprises on the Taku                            
11 River; and                                                                                                              
12       WHEREAS past proposals to use the Taku River as an industrial transportation                                    
13 corridor involving conventional tug and barge systems or unconventional barges and large                                
14 wheeled or tracked vehicles introduced significant risk of damage to the river bottom not                               
15 generated by existing uses of the river's resources; and                                                                
16       WHEREAS industrial transportation systems pose significant risks to important fish                            
17 spawning, incubation, and rearing habitats, could degrade water quality, and may disrupt the                            
18 ice cover, all of which would be detrimental to the habitat; and                                                        
19       WHEREAS user groups such as private recreational property owners, commercial,                                   
20 charter, sport and personal use fishermen, seafood processors, and other local businesses have                          
21 expressed significant concerns over recent proposals to permit industrial transportation                                
22 systems on the Taku River;                                                                                              
23       BE IT RESOLVED that the Taku River Task Force is created as a joint task force of                               
24 the Alaska State Legislature; and be it                                                                                 
25       FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall be composed of eight members, as                                     
26 follows:                                                                                                                
27            (1)  the senator from Senate District B;                                                                     
28            (2)  the representatives from House District 3 and House District 4;                                         
29            (3)  the commissioner of fish and game or the commissioner's designee;                                       
30            (4)  four members of the public, appointed jointly by the President of the                                   
31 Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as follows:                                                      
01                 (A)  one owner of private recreational property in the Taku River                                       
02       valley;                                                                                                           
03                 (B)  one holder of a commercial fishing permit for registration area A;                                 
04                 (C)  one owner or employee of a business that derives significant                                       
05       income from transportation to or within the Taku River;                                                           
06                 (D)  one person who uses but does not consume Taku River resources;                                     
07       and be it                                                                                                         
08       FURTHER RESOLVED that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the                                        
09 House of Representatives shall jointly appoint the chair and vice-chair of the task force; and                          
10 be it                                                                                                                 
11       FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall seek the professional opinions of                                    
12 research and management personnel from the Department of Fish and Game and the                                          
13 Department of Natural Resources in carrying out its duties; and be it                                                   
14       FURTHER RESOLVED that the duties of the task force shall be to                                                  
15            (1)  review biological data on Taku River fish and game resources;                                           
16            (2)  work cooperatively with appropriate federal, state, and local government                                
17 agencies to ensure monitoring of industrial vessel traffic on the Taku River;                                           
18            (3)  determine how best to protect the Taku's unique resources and maintain                                  
19 the general productivity of Taku River habitat while providing for recreational and other uses;                         
20            (4)  recommend public policy options to ensure the proper protection of Taku                                 
21 River resources; and be it                                                                                              
22       FURTHER RESOLVED that Taku River Task Force meetings shall be open to the                                       
23 public; and be it                                                                                                     
24       FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall submit a report of its findings to the                               
25 legislature not later than December 1, 2011; and be it                                                                  
26       FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall be terminated on January 31, 2012.