Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/13/1996 03:50 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 198 HOMER AIRPORT CRITICAL HAB. AREA SENATOR PEARCE announced SB 198 to be up for consideration. SENATOR FRANK moved to adopt the K version CS to SB 198. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR TORGERSON, sponsor, explained that there were three changes. One was a new purpose section for moose habitat and for guaranteed public access, revisions of boundaries, and new language in section 2 reflecting the stated purpose, inserting on page 6, line 26. The plan is to guarantee access and continued public fishing, hunting, and trapping activities and opportunities in the area. He said these changes are a direct result of the public hearing he and Senator Leman had in Homer. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if this would comport with Senator Miller's bill on no net loss. SENATOR TORGERSON replied no. Number 100 SENATOR PEARCE asked what the FAA restrictions were in terms of hunting. SENATOR TORGERSON explained this was within the city limits of Homer and discharge of firearms is prohibited, but bow hunting is not. SENATOR TAYLOR asked why they can't manage the habitat for the benefit of the moose today. SENATOR TORGERSON answered he thought it was because they don't have access to the airport given to them by DOT or FAA. SENATOR FRANK asked about the critical habitat designation. He asked if they had to have the word critical in there. SENATOR TORGERSON replied that he wasn't sure. GERON BRUCE, ADF&G, said there is a definition of critical habitat. The basic idea is that these areas are managed for multiple use, but by declaring them a critical habitat area, other activities in that area must be compatible with the protection of fish and wildlife habitat and other human uses. This does not exclude development. SENATOR FRANK asked if the words critical habitat area are defined in law and require a certain management regime. MR. BRUCE replied that the purposes for the habitat areas are defined in law and then there is a regulatory framework that defines the general procedures for how to get a permit to do things in a critical habitat area. Some of the areas have specific management plans that have been adopted. Number 169 SENATOR TAYLOR asked why the purpose section talks about providing an area for enhancing winter browse for the moose herd on the lower Kenai. MR. BRUCE said he didn't know for sure, but he thought that was from input from people in Homer who are interested in doing some volunteer work in that area to improve the browse for the moose who spend their winters there. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there was something preventing the people from enhancing the winter browse for moose in that area today. MR. BRUCE said no fish and game statute would prohibit that, but once this is declared a critical habitat area, those kinds of activities are encouraged and might result in some changes in cooperative agreements. SENATOR TAYLOR commented that he didn't want declaring it a critical habitat area to prevent them from enhancing the area because it would require a permit and a hearing. He didn't want to prevent them from doing what they are free to do right now. SENATOR TORGERSON said this was discussed and the feeling is that permits are required now and access is required from DOT. Once they do that, though, they want continual use of that land and this sets it aside for that purpose. DOT might be more of a yearly thing. Number 200 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if DOT was going to invest funds in enhancement. MR. BRUCE replied no that the local folks are interested in doing enhancement on a volunteer basis. Number 234 SENATOR HALFORD asked the reason for the outholdings. SENATOR TORGERSON explained that the two triangles are where the Aleutian Tern nesting area is. The residents wanted this area set aside because this is kind of a rare species of tern. Number 256 SENATOR FRANK moved to pass CS for SB 198 (RES) with individual recommendations along with the accompanying fiscal note. There were no objections and it was so ordered.