Legislature(2001 - 2002)

2001-01-16 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2001-01-16                     House Journal                      Page 0093
HB 61                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 61 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                        
the Governor, entitled:                                                                             
     "An Act authorizing the commissioner of fish and game to award                                 
     grants for habitat restoration or enhancement projects; and                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                              
was read the first time and referred to the House Special Committee on                              
Fisheries and the Resources and Finance Committees.                                                 
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                 
1.  Zero, Dept. of Fish & Game                                                                      
The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 12, 2001, appears                                   

2001-01-16                     House Journal                      Page 0094
"Dear Speaker Porter:                                                                               
To continue our efforts to protect and enhance Alaska's natural                                     
resources, I am transmitting this bill authorizing the commissioner of                              
the Department of Fish and Game to award grants for habitat                                         
restoration activities.                                                                             
Under this bill, the commissioner would have express authority to                                   
directly award grants to restore and improve fish and wildlife habitats                             
in Alaska.  Current law necessitates the department to channel money                                
through other agencies which causes delay and adds considerable                                     
administrative cost.                                                                                
An increasing amount of federal funding is available to restore fish                                
habitat and passage.  We have many opportunities to use these funds,                                
particularly in the more developed areas of the state.  Many of these                               
opportunities are found on private land on some of Alaska's most                                    
productive fish streams, such as the Kenai River.                                                   
Since the inception of the Kenai River 50/50 Cost Share project in                                  
1995, the department has approved 160 projects to rehabilitate some                                 
9,600 feet of riverbank and protect more than 15,700 feet of the Kenai                              
River.  But more money could have been directly targeted to these                                   
projects if we did not have to pay the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service                               
its 11 percent administrative cost for channeling these funds to the                                
state.  Direct grant authority for the department will eliminate the need                           
to use the federal agency in this way.                                                              
This legislation provides a more cost-effective way to continue efforts                             
on private and public land to rehabilitate, improve, and protect                                    
Alaska's valuable fish and wildlife habitats.  I urge your prompt and                               
favorable action on this measure.                                                                   
                                Tony Knowles