Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/23/2001 03:55 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HB  61-HABITAT RESTORATION/ENHANCEMENT GRANTS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  JOHN  TORGERSON  called  the  Senate  Resources  Committee                                                          
meeting  to order  at  3:55 pm  and announced  HB  61 to  be up  for                                                            
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEN TAYLOR,  Director,  Division  of Habitat  and Restoration,                                                             
Alaska  Department  of  Fish  and  Game (ADF&G),  said  that  HB  61                                                            
authorizes the commissioner  of ADF&G granting authority for federal                                                            
receipts.  The receipts are  limited to those  that are not  federal                                                            
aid funds currently received  under Pitman-Robertson, Dingle-Johnson                                                            
or the Wallop-Breaux Programs. He explained:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          In 1995, the department received a CIP from the                                                                       
      legislature for enhancement grants on the Kenai River.                                                                    
     However,  we had no granting  authority to implement  that                                                                 
     directly.  Because of our lack  of granting authority,  we                                                                 
     had to go  to a federal agency, partner with them,  funnel                                                                 
     the  money  through the  federal  agency  - that  took  11                                                                 
     percent  of the total  gross - and then  award the grants                                                                  
     from the federal  agency to the individuals. We  conducted                                                                 
     170 cross-share  programs on  the Kenai River for habitat                                                                  
     restoration  with these funds. By passing this  bill, that                                                                 
     will essentially eliminate  the middleman. They won't take                                                                 
     their  11 percent,  and we'll  be able to  deal with  this                                                                 
     much more effectively administratively.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Currently, there is a strong  national emphasis on habitat                                                                 
     restoration  for salmon  in the  Pacific  Northwest and  I                                                                 
     believe  that the funding available  for these activities                                                                  
     is going to  increase substantially over the next  several                                                                 
     years  and we would  like the  opportunity  to be able  to                                                                 
     partner with Alaskans on  salmon restoration activities on                                                                 
     private lands where it's needed.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  if bill is subject  to the legislature's                                                             
power to appropriate funds.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR  answered, "Absolutely,  every dollar  that comes  to the                                                            
department is appropriated through the legislature."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR asked where the funds come from.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR  answered  that the  first set  of funds  came from  EVOS                                                            
criminal settlement funds  (SB 183 in 1995), which will be exhausted                                                            
by the end  of this fiscal  year. He said  ADF&G has asked  Congress                                                            
for an appropriation for the Kenai Peninsula in the FY02 budget.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR asked if they are Carol Light (ph) funds.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR answered  that they aren't. They have funds  appropriated                                                            
by  the  Legislature  for  Southeast  sustainable   salmon  research                                                            
monitoring  and restoration  and  a portion  of those  funds may  be                                                            
available for these types of restoration projects.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR asked if they are salmon treaty funds.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR said they are  not. He explained that he is talking about                                                            
$14 million  that  was received  by the  state in  the federal  FY00                                                            
budget and  an additional  $10 million in  the FY01 budget.  Some of                                                            
the funds are associated  with the Treaty, but they are not referred                                                            
to as treaty funds.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He said $14 million  was appropriated in the FY00  budget for salmon                                                            
restoration,  rehabilitation,  monitoring,  enhancement and  related                                                            
activities  for Cape Suckling  to Dixon Entrance.  Those funds  were                                                            
not directly part of the  Treaty negotiations, but they were an add-                                                            
on to  the  National Marine  Fisheries  Service (NMFS)  budget.  The                                                            
actual  treaty funds  come in  the Northern  Boundary  Fund and  the                                                            
Southern  Fund. The  Northern Boundary  Fund  is being  set up  as a                                                            
trust. He didn't know the  details of it. Neither one of those funds                                                            
are  what he  is talking  about  for  the Kenai.  He  has asked  for                                                            
separate appropriations  from Congress  for the Kenai. He  mentioned                                                            
the  Southeast  salmon  funds because  they  were  appropriated  for                                                            
research,  monitoring   and  restoration  and  there   may  be  some                                                            
opportunity  to use some of those  funds for restoration  activities                                                            
in Southeast.  If that's  the case, the granting  authority  that is                                                            
provided  in this  bill would  allow them  to partner  with  private                                                            
individuals or corporations.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 500                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HALFORD said  when they  considered this  issue last  year,                                                            
they put in an amendment  that added "access" to the list of reasons                                                            
for the use of  the fund. They also added a provision  that required                                                            
the  concurrence   of  the  appropriate  authority:   the  Board  of                                                            
Fisheries or  Game. Mr. Taylor said  that because there are  so many                                                            
grants, it  would be too  cumbersome to put  them through the  board                                                            
process. However, he believes  it's important that the Board set the                                                            
direction  for ADF&G  since  the Board  is closer  to a  lot of  the                                                            
input.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD suggested two amendments:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
On  page  1,  line  7  add  "access"  to  "habitat   restoration  or                                                            
enhancement";                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
On page 1, line 8, following "projects" insert:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     "The award of a grant under this section is subject to the                                                                 
     review/approval by the Board of Fisheries or the Board of                                                                  
     Game, whichever is appropriate."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TAYLOR responded  that  ADF&G  has no  problem  with the  first                                                            
amendment  (to include  access).  ADF&G already  has  a very  active                                                            
access defense  program within  the Habitat  Division. He has  never                                                            
found a funding  source that would  provide access grants,  although                                                            
he is still looking.  It's the only program in his  division that is                                                            
fully funded with ADF&G funds.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He  remarked  that   last  year  the  Board  officially   adopted  a                                                            
sustainable   salmon   fisheries    policy   with   provisions   for                                                            
consideration  of habitat. Prior to  every Board meeting,  the board                                                            
asks ADF&G to  identify salmon stocks of concern.  His division then                                                            
goes through  a procedure  of identifying  the habitat concerns  and                                                            
corrective actions that  can be taken, if any, for any stock listed.                                                            
The  Board has  a Habitat  Committee  that he  interacts  with on  a                                                            
regular basis.  He didn't think it  was necessary to amend  the bill                                                            
to  require ADF&G  to  address the  Boards,  since the  division  is                                                            
already doing that, although  he didn't think the suggested language                                                            
would cause any undue complications.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD moved to adopt Amendment 1, which reads:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
On page 1, line 7, add ", access" after "restoration"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
On line 8,  add "The award of grant  programs authorized  under this                                                            
section are  subject to approval  by the Board  of Fisheries  or the                                                            
Board of Game, whichever is appropriate" after "projects".                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  objected for the purpose  of a question. He  asked if                                                            
Amendment  1 meant  that  the Board  should  give authority  to  the                                                            
commissioner to proceed  with a program in which he can give grants,                                                            
but it  does not  give the  [Board]  the authority  to review  every                                                            
grant.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD  said that is correct. He expected  that there would                                                            
be an  annual grant  program and  there would  be one approval  that                                                            
would cover the one program that the Administration presented.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked if he meant a list of grantees.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD said he  assumed it would be a list that goes beyond                                                            
what they have federal support for.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR explained  that once ADF&G has the funding  available, it                                                            
advertises  the  program  to the  public  and  then looks  at  grant                                                            
proposals as they  come in, evaluating them through  a very rigorous                                                            
set of criteria. Those that qualify are funded.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HALFORD said  he assumed  the approval  would have to  come                                                            
when they make the initial presentation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1000                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked Mr.  Taylor if his division works on a year-by -                                                            
year basis or proposal basis when awarding grants.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TAYLOR answered  that  it's done  on  an on-going  basis.  Once                                                            
funding is available, the  division figures out where the priorities                                                            
are. Then it puts out a  proposal to the public and people proposals                                                            
throughout the year.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked if  they don't bundle now, but under the process                                                            
envisioned  in this bill,  they would have  to bundle so they  could                                                            
get funds from  either the Board of Fisheries or the  Board of Game.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR answered that he envisioned:                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     If  we are dealing  with the  Kenai Peninsula  and we  say                                                                 
     that  there's  a  stretch  on the  Kenai  River  that's  a                                                                 
     priority  and there's the Upper  Anchor River where  we're                                                                 
     having  difficulty with ATV crossings  and we need to  put                                                                 
     in some bridges  and we have a couple of other  priorities                                                                 
     - these are the types of  things we would like to address.                                                                 
     We would  take the information  to the Board of Fisheries                                                                  
     or the Board  of Game and say this is what we're  planning                                                                 
     on doing for habitat restoration  on the Kenai that should                                                                 
     interest  your user groups.  In fact,  this is what we  do                                                                 
     now.  The only part  about the wording  in this amendment                                                                  
     that  concerns me  is board  approval. The  way the  board                                                                 
     processes  have worked  in the  past is  that regulations                                                                  
     have  often been  set up where  the board  authorizes  the                                                                 
     department  to do something, like conduct wolf  control in                                                                 
     a given  area. It  doesn't mandateā€¦  That's the structure                                                                  
     that's  used. There hasn't  been, in  any of the statutes                                                                  
     we've  passed so  far, any  fiscal oversight  in what  the                                                                 
     department  does. There's been  that separation of powers                                                                  
     between  the board  and the legislature.  The legislature                                                                  
     has  maintained fiscal  authority  and the  board has  set                                                                 
     policy direction.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  asked if the $14 million in federal  funding would be                                                            
available for grants under this change.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR replied that  the $14 million was authorized for a number                                                            
of different  types of expenditures,  one of which was restoration.                                                             
He didn't know  how much of it would be available  for grants or for                                                            
restoration. He just mentioned it as another potential source.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  asked if the process  now for that $14 million  is to                                                            
have stakeholder  review  of how those  dollars  are being used  and                                                            
this bill would provide another level of review.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR replied that  the division normally gets a lot of reviews                                                            
on how it uses the money,  but his point is that the board would get                                                            
to review whether it's mandated in statute or not.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR moved to amend Amendment 1 as follows:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
After "grant  programs under this  section are subject to  approval"                                                            
insert "annually" before "subject".                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN objected  to  the word  "annually".  She heard  Mr.                                                            
Taylor say  the boards don't do an  annual review; a review  is done                                                            
as the grants  come in or as they  put together a review  of a given                                                            
area. It seems  that this amendment would tie the  hands of ADF&G to                                                            
do anything until  it gets all the grants together  and then, once a                                                            
year or annually, it goes to one of the boards for approval.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR  said  his understanding  of  the way  this amendment  is                                                            
worded  is that  the grant  program  authorized under  this  section                                                            
would be  reviewed annually.  So,  they are looking  at the  overall                                                            
program.  The individual  grants wouldn't  be reviewed. The  problem                                                            
that might  be a little difficult  for the boards is that  they both                                                            
generally deal with the state on a cyclic basis.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said that the boards have dealt  with issues all                                                            
over the place and there are also things they do every year.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR admitted that was correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD  said he didn't object  to "annually" and  he didn't                                                            
think it hurt  the bill either way.  He thought they could  say, "at                                                            
least annually".                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HALFORD  read the  proposed amendment:  "The award  of grant                                                            
programs  authorized  under  this  section  are  at  least  annually                                                            
subject to approval by  the Board of Fisheries or the Board of Game,                                                            
whichever is appropriate."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He explained that  way "annually" does not become  a limitation, but                                                            
it still requires something to be done every year.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR  moved to  modify  his amendment  to  add "at  least                                                            
annually".                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON asked  if the amendment  now means  that, "The  board                                                            
would look  back at the grants from  the previous year and  say they                                                            
did a good job - keep doing  it the way you've been doing it because                                                            
we're talking  about grant programs, not individual  grants. So they                                                            
review  the department's  administration  of the  previous year  and                                                            
then give  the nod  or here's  where we  think you  were off  track.                                                            
Don't do that again."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said he thought  Mr. Taylor was saying  that the                                                            
division would come in  with a project, for instance a bridge across                                                            
a  river,  a  project  that  could  be  accomplished  four  or  five                                                            
different  ways. That  would  be the program.  The  actual grant  to                                                            
accomplish it would not come before the board.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HALFORD  said that  the federal  government  does  existing                                                            
programs  because ADF&G doesn't  have the authority  to do  them. He                                                            
commented,  "So  we're  fixing   that  portion  with  any  of  these                                                            
versions, but  I don't think the review by the board  is intended to                                                            
be retrospective. I think it's intended to be prospective."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR  explained that  ADF&G has traditionally  received  these                                                            
funds through  a multi-year CIP. When  it gets the authorization  in                                                            
the federal budget,  it comes to the legislature and  asks for a CIP                                                            
for five or  six years. He said ADF&G  would tell the board  what it                                                            
did with the previous  years' funds and what its priorities  are for                                                            
the coming  year. ADF&G would take  the board's input on  priorities                                                            
and, if  there is some other  focus it should  have, get it  at this                                                            
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked if that is what ADF&G does now.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TAYLOR replied it is.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  asked Senator  Lincoln  if she  maintained  her                                                            
objection. She said no and he announced that the amendment to                                                                   
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked  if there was any discussion on the amended                                                            
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON said he could  see the value of it, but didn't know if                                                            
it anticipates a problem  they might not have. He was concerned that                                                            
the only  people  who want to  serve on  certain boards  have  to be                                                            
crazy to do  it because, "It's the  amount of time they have  to put                                                            
into it; they  make no friends doing it; they only  make enemies and                                                            
so what we're  doing is creating a  situation in which we're  saying                                                            
'You do a lot. Now do more.'"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked  for a roll call. SENATORS TAYLOR, HALFORD,                                                            
LINCOLN,  AND  TORGERSON   voted  yea;  SENATOR  ELTON   voted  nay.                                                            
Amendment 1 as amended was adopted by a vote of four to one.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DALE BONDURANT  stated support for HB 61. [The  remainder of his                                                            
testimony was indisc.]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR moved  to  pass SCSHB  61(RES) from  committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations.  There were no objections  and it was so                                                            
ordered.                                                                                                                        

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