Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/13/1996 03:50 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                 
 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               
 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                
 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                
 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.                                     

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