Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/21/2004 01:37 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 21, 2004                                                                                         
                           1:37 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Beverly Masek, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Nick Stepovich                                                                                                   
Representative Kelly Wolf                                                                                                       
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom, Co-Chair                                                                                        
Representative Cheryll Heinze, Vice Chair                                                                                       
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 329(RES)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to control of nuisance moose."                                                                                 
     - MOVED CSSB 329(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 329                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NUISANCE MOOSE                                                                                                     
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) BUNDE BY REQUEST                                                                                         
02/13/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/04       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/24/04       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/24/04       (S)       Moved CSSB 329(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/24/04       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/26/04       (S)       RES RPT CS  5DP              SAME TITLE                                                                
03/26/04       (S)       DP: OGAN, DYSON, WAGONER, STEVENS B,                                                                   
03/26/04       (S)       SEEKINS                                                                                                
04/01/04       (S)       FIN REFERRAL WAIVED                                                                                    
04/08/04       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/08/04       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 329(RES)                                                                                 
04/13/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/13/04       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
04/19/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
04/19/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/19/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/21/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LOUIS "TEX" EDWARDS, Director                                                                                                   
Alaska Zoo                                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of SB 329, answered                                                                      
GARY OLSON, Chair/Founder                                                                                                       
Alaska Moose Federation                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Related the problems with growing moose                                                                    
populations on school grounds and the surrounding neighborhoods                                                                 
in the Anchorage area.                                                                                                          
VIC VanBALLENBERGHE                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Drawing upon his 30-year experience as a                                                                   
biologist, expressed concerns with SB 329.                                                                                      
KAREN DEATHERAGE, Alaska Program Associate                                                                                      
Defenders of Wildlife                                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns with SB 329.                                                                            
MARIE WARNKE                                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged the committee to hold SB 329.                                                                        
LINDA DONEGAN                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns with SB 329.                                                                            
TOM HARRIS, President/CEO                                                                                                       
Alaska Village Initiatives                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 329.                                                                            
MATT ROBUS, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish & Game                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  SB  329,  answered                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 04-23, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  BEVERLY  MASEK  called  the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 1:37 p.m.   Representatives Masek,                                                               
Lynn, Stepovich,  Wolf, Guttenberg, and Kerttula  were present at                                                               
the call to order.                                                                                                              
SB 329-NUISANCE MOOSE                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be CS FOR  SENATE BILL NO. 329(RES), "An Act  relating to control                                                               
of nuisance moose."                                                                                                             
Number 0104                                                                                                                     
LOUIS  "TEX"  EDWARDS, Director,  Alaska  Zoo,  related that  the                                                               
Alaska Zoo  has partnered  with the Alaska  Department of  Fish &                                                               
Game (ADF&G) for  over 35 years, during which  the department has                                                               
cared  for a  number of  orphaned moose  calves.   Therefore, the                                                               
Alaska Zoo  has developed the  expertise to care for  young moose                                                               
calves.   He  informed  the  committee that  at  the  end of  the                                                               
summer,  the Alaska  Zoo shifts  a number  of moose  calves to  a                                                               
variety of  zoos in North America  as well as the  Moose Research                                                               
Federation  at the  Kenai Peninsula.   Mr.  Edwards concluded  by                                                               
relating that the Alaska Zoo will  continue to work with ADF&G as                                                               
well as with the Moose Research Federation.                                                                                     
Number 0340                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  inquired  as  to the  risk  a  moose  being                                                               
transported  faces.   He inquired  as to  the danger  of a  moose                                                               
dying from the tranquilizer.                                                                                                    
MR.  EDWARDS clarified  that  he isn't  the  veterinarian or  the                                                               
curator, but offered his experience  that the risk to the animals                                                               
increases with  the animal's age.   He explained that  most moose                                                               
calves are  dropped in  the last  week of May  and ADF&G  and the                                                               
Alaska  Zoo have  mutually agreed  to stop  picking up  calves by                                                               
July  4th unless  a  tranquilizer gun  and  special equipment  is                                                               
used.   When moose have  been shipped at  the end of  the summer,                                                               
there really haven't been any problems.                                                                                         
Number 0580                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG surmised that  moving calves during the                                                               
spring or  summer is  low stress  [on the  calves].   However, he                                                               
questioned the stress of [moving moose] during the winter.                                                                      
MR. EDWARDS said that moose  haven't been gathered and brought to                                                               
the zoo in  the winter.  He indicated that  the highest risk time                                                               
[to transport and  do other things] would be during  the rut.  In                                                               
further  response  to   Representative  Guttenberg,  Mr.  Edwards                                                               
acknowledged that a few calves are  lost.  However, he noted that                                                               
usually calves  are lost because  they were damaged in  the event                                                               
that  resulted in  them being  orphaned.   Mr. Edwards  clarified                                                               
that mature moose have not been brought to the Alaska Zoo.                                                                      
Number 0775                                                                                                                     
GARY    OLSON,    Chair/Founder,   Alaska    Moose    Federation,                                                               
characterized  SB 329  as public  safety  legislation, first  and                                                               
foremost.     He   related  the   problems  with   growing  moose                                                               
populations on  school grounds and the  surrounding neighborhoods                                                               
in the  Anchorage area.  The  children of Anchorage are  the ones                                                               
being  most effected  by the  moose problems  in Anchorage.   Mr.                                                               
Olson related that  private industry and others are  lining up in                                                               
support of  this legislation.   "We will  be funding  this entire                                                               
project  and reimbursing  the state  for any  expenses that  they                                                               
have," he stated.   The key is  that so many moose  are ending up                                                               
on the  front of cars;  there has been  a 75 percent  increase in                                                               
moose-vehicle collisions since 1992 in Anchorage alone.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF opined that this  proposal sounds too good to                                                               
be true.  He suggested  including a sunset or look-back provision                                                               
in this legislation.                                                                                                            
MR.  OLSON  related that  of  the  almost $2.5  million  Alaska's                                                               
congressional  delegation  brought  back  to  Alaska,  there  are                                                               
provisions  dedicated  to  known  vehicle wildlife  areas  to  be                                                               
"fixed  with funding  from  these sources."    He indicated  that                                                               
there  are a  lot of  people  on board  with this  plan and  it's                                                               
coming from a federal perspective.                                                                                              
Number 1282                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH  surmised  that Mr.  Olson  means  that                                                               
federal funds can be obtained for this proposal.                                                                                
MR.  OLSON replied  yes, adding  that there  is also  substantial                                                               
input   from  private   industry.     In   further  response   to                                                               
Representative Stepovich, Mr. Olson  confirmed that the intent is                                                               
for this  legislation to  only apply  to Anchorage,  although the                                                               
legislation is written  such that [any] city that  decides not to                                                               
have a hunt can use this proposal as a tool.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  drew attention  to the language  in the                                                               
legislation  referring to  "suitable habitat"  and the  desire to                                                               
send  moose  to rural  areas  where  moose  are  in demand.    He                                                               
inquired  as to  how [ADF&G]  would determine  where to  send the                                                               
MR.  OLSON pointed  out  that  ADF&G is  given  the authority  to                                                               
determine  the definition  of  "nuisance moose."    In regard  to                                                               
"suitable habitat," Mr. Olson indicated  that such would be areas                                                               
in  which there  are  predator control  programs  or programs  to                                                               
increase moose populations.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH highlighted that  the costs would differ                                                               
for  transport   of  moose  due  to   the  distance  transported.                                                               
Therefore, he asked if there would be one cost for everyone.                                                                    
MR. OLSON informed  the committee that private  industry is lined                                                               
up with  heavy aircraft similar  to a C-130.   There is  also the                                                               
possibility  of using  the railroad  for long  distance transport                                                               
and  rebuilding populations  along the  tracks.   In response  to                                                               
Representative Stepovich,  Mr. Olson  specified that  there won't                                                               
be a set cost for [transporting] a moose.                                                                                       
Number 1582                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   HEINZE  highlighted   that   the  Alaska   Moose                                                               
Federation was created after the  Alyeska Pipeline was shot.  "Is                                                               
it the connection to the value of  oil and the value of the moose                                                               
that brought this to the forefront," she asked.                                                                                 
MR.  OLSON  replied yes,  and  emphasized  the need  to  properly                                                               
manage moose as a resource.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  recalled the  earlier testimony  that there                                                               
has been  a 75  percent increase in  the number  of moose-vehicle                                                               
collisions since 1992.  However,  there was no mention that there                                                               
has also been an increase in the  number of vehicles.  Due to the                                                               
aforementioned,  Representative  Gatto questioned  whether  there                                                               
has  really  been an  increase  in  the number  of  moose-vehicle                                                               
MR. OLSON  noted that there  has also been a  tremendous increase                                                               
in the  number of  houses and  roads.   He acknowledged  that the                                                               
total  equation looks  grim  if nothing  is  done to  proactively                                                               
handle this problem.   He said he was sure  there is a connection                                                               
with the  increase in  the number  of cars,  not to  mention that                                                               
cars  are getting  smaller and  roads  are being  built to  drive                                                               
faster.   All  of the  aforementioned  heads toward  a very  poor                                                               
environment  for moose  and people  without forwarding  proposals                                                               
such as SB 329.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  recalled that in the  Mat-Su Valley there's                                                               
a stretch  of road  with a  sign specifying  that 300  moose have                                                               
been killed  this season.   He said that's  a high number  and he                                                               
didn't  know whether  the number  refers to  the moose  killed on                                                               
that  stretch  of  road  or   statewide.    Representative  Gatto                                                               
inquired as to how many moose  Mr. Olson felt could be saved with                                                               
the proposed program.                                                                                                           
MR. OLSON  indicated his  opposition to  a sunset  clause because                                                               
it's  going to  take many  years to  get the  program working  to                                                               
reduce the number  of moose-vehicle collisions.   He informed the                                                               
committee  that  moving  250  moose  a  year  from  the  downtown                                                               
Anchorage area  merely keeps the  moose population constant.   He                                                               
further informed the committee that  on average 150-200 moose are                                                               
hit  by  vehicles.    However,  for  a  heavy  snow  year  DOT&PF                                                               
statistics indicate  the need  to multiply that  by a  minimum of                                                               
two.   He  reiterated that  it will  take many  years before  the                                                               
numbers turn around.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  related  his understanding  that  Mr.                                                               
Olson expects 250 moose to be moved per year.                                                                                   
MR. OLSON  informed the committee  that there are 1,000  moose in                                                               
the  Anchorage  core area  and  a  25 percent  recruitment  rate.                                                               
Therefore, 250 moose  need to be transplanted merely  in order to                                                               
keep the population stable.  If  there is a pursuit to reduce the                                                               
population in  order to  keep moose off  school grounds  and away                                                               
from  the   ever-increasing  population,  that  250   number  may                                                               
increase.    However, ADF&G  will  need  to identify  the  safest                                                               
number.   He  recommended that  the Department  of Public  Safety                                                               
participate in  the process of  determining the  acceptable moose                                                               
population in the area.  In  regard to the costs of moving moose,                                                               
Mr. Olson  explained that if  the intent  is to be  proactive and                                                               
follow up with the calves,  the moose population reduction effort                                                               
could be  done for a  far less cost.   He noted that  [the Alaska                                                               
Moose Federation] was  just given the go ahead to  use a 500-acre                                                               
area at  Point MacKenzie in  conjunction with this program.   Mr.                                                               
Olson  emphasized that  if this  problem is  addressed after  the                                                               
harsh winters, the  costs are going to be  higher than addressing                                                               
it proactively by relocating calves.   Depending upon the time of                                                               
year,  the  [relocation] of  one  animal  will be  between  $600-                                                               
$1,000.  However,  he noted that relocating  multiple animals [at                                                               
once] will be cheaper.  Given  that flight time and other aspects                                                               
of   this  process   have  been   donated,  the   cost  will   be                                                               
significantly cheaper than if the state handled this on its own.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked if  the Alaska  Moose Federation                                                               
is  willing  and able  to  reimburse  ADF&G  with regard  to  its                                                               
habitat studies and mortality rates.   He also asked if ADF&G has                                                               
released those numbers.                                                                                                         
MR.  OLSON   informed  the  committee   that  the   Alaska  Moose                                                               
Federation was just  given the go ahead to use  a Cessna 180 with                                                               
an optic  belly in order to  perform moose counts and  other data                                                               
collection.   Mr. Olson  said that  a lot more  work needs  to be                                                               
done to reach  the goal of the Alaska Moose  Federation, which is                                                               
planning  to   do  much   more  than   is  encompassed   in  this                                                               
legislation.  The Alaska Moose  Federation is fully [prepared] to                                                               
have habitat biologists and wildlife  biologists on staff who can                                                               
perform work such as determining  ample habitat and other aspects                                                               
or the state can perform such work.                                                                                             
Number 2090                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  posed a situation  in which a  moose is                                                               
causing  a nuisance  around an  apartment  building.   In such  a                                                               
situation, he questioned whom - the  owner of the land or ADF&G -                                                               
labels the  moose as a  nuisance.   He also questioned  who would                                                               
pay for the removal of the moose.                                                                                               
MR. OLSON  confirmed that the  Alaska Moose Federation  would pay                                                               
for  the removal  of the  moose from  the property.   In  further                                                               
response to  Representative Stepovich,  Mr. Olson  clarified that                                                               
ADF&G  will  determine that  there  is  a  nuisance moose.    The                                                               
department will determine whether the  moose will be removed from                                                               
an area or destroyed.                                                                                                           
Number 2222                                                                                                                     
VIC VanBALLENBERGHE  informed the  committee that  he has  been a                                                               
moose biologist  for 35 years,  has captured over 500  moose, and                                                               
has  published  60-70  technical  papers on  various  aspects  of                                                               
moose.  He expressed his  concern with this proposal, although he                                                               
commended the Alaska Moose Federation's  proposals to address the                                                               
moose-vehicle accident  problems through the creation  of habitat                                                               
to draw  moose from roadways.   However, the current  proposal to                                                               
transport moose out  of Anchorage has some  serious problems, and                                                               
therefore he  urged the committee to  hold SB 329 until  there is                                                               
time to address  some of the questions and allow  the citizens of                                                               
Anchorage  to   have  some   discourse  on   the  matter.     Mr.                                                               
VanBallenberghe related that he has  moose in his yard all winter                                                               
and his neighbors  observe those moose and  enjoy their presence.                                                               
After  talking with  some of  his neighbors,  he discovered  that                                                               
they hadn't  heard of SB 329  and were appalled that  they hadn't                                                               
been  informed  or  allowed the  opportunity  to  provide  input.                                                               
Therefore, he reiterated the need to  step back and solve some of                                                               
the problems with SB 329.                                                                                                       
MR. VanBALLENBERGHE  pointed out  that recently he  e-mailed each                                                               
committee member  eight different  points regarding  the proposed                                                               
capture  and  transport  program  encompassed  in  SB  329.    He                                                               
highlighted  that there  are serious  issues with  regard to  the                                                               
dangers of  very potent narcotic  drugs laying around.   A single                                                               
drop of  the anesthetic  used for moose  contains enough  drug to                                                               
kill  several people.    He posed  a situation  in  which a  dart                                                               
misses a moose and is buried  in the snow to be discovered during                                                               
the winter thaw.   Contrary to earlier testimony  by a biologist,                                                               
the  anesthetic used  for moose  is  highly stable  and loses  no                                                               
potency by freezing.   Mr. VanBallenberghe turned  to the earlier                                                               
mentioned intent  of reducing the moose  population in Anchorage,                                                               
which  is   a  large  scale  [proposal]   requiring  a  sustained                                                               
operation over many years and  involving hundreds of [folks].  He                                                               
questioned the real  objective of this proposal and  the level to                                                               
which the moose population in  Anchorage would need to be reduced                                                               
in  order to  significantly reduce  car accidents.   However,  he                                                               
didn't believe  anyone could  determine the  relationship between                                                               
taking  a certain  amount of  moose  from the  Anchorage area  in                                                               
terms of reducing car accidents.                                                                                                
MR. VanBALLENBERGHE  opined that there are  serious problems with                                                               
stocking moose in order to  increase low-density populations.  He                                                               
related  that   during  a  recent   discussion  with   his  moose                                                               
colleagues none of his colleagues  could cite an example in North                                                               
America in which  a moose population was augmented  by a stocking                                                               
program.  Furthermore, it's a "horse  of a different color" for a                                                               
city  moose to  be  turned  loose in  winter  with  deep snow  to                                                               
compete with local  residents while not knowing where  to go feed                                                               
or escape predators.  He  opined that to his knowledge augmenting                                                               
populations hasn't been done successfully in North America.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH  related  his  understanding  that  Mr.                                                               
VanBallenberghe   alluded  to   some  transportation   relocation                                                               
MR. VanBALLENBERGHE said  that he hasn't seen  any concrete plans                                                               
other than those  related today regarding building  a trailer for                                                               
vehicle  transport and  the use  of  large aircraft.   He  turned                                                               
attention to  his written comments,  which relate that  there are                                                               
serious problems  keeping animals anesthetized for  long periods.                                                               
As with humans,  the rule is to  do it for the  minimum amount of                                                               
time.   Transporting  animals via  aircraft requires  an extended                                                               
amount of  time under anesthesia,  which places the animals  at a                                                               
high risk of mortality.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG related  Mr. VanBallenberghe's comments                                                               
that  [maintaining the  current]  population  would [require  the                                                               
removal of] 250  a year.  To do the  aforementioned would require                                                               
a much larger program.   In some ways it sounds  as if the Alaska                                                               
Moose   Federation    is   willing    to   take    over   ADF&G's                                                               
responsibilities in the  Anchorage basin.  "Is  this as extensive                                                               
a program as that," he asked.                                                                                                   
MR. VanBALLENBERGHE  answered that he  would hope not,  and added                                                               
that ADF&G  must adhere to  legal and regulatory  requirements to                                                               
which the  department must  adhere.  He  emphasized the  need for                                                               
there to  be expertise  in administering  these drugs,  which are                                                               
the highest category of narcotics.   The department is the holder                                                               
and  dispenser of  these drugs  and  those that  use these  drugs                                                               
should be trained.   In fact, these  individuals would preferably                                                               
be veterinarians.   Even if private  individuals could eventually                                                               
do  this, these  individuals will  need training  and supervision                                                               
that ADF&G would have to provide.                                                                                               
Number 2756                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG recalled  Mr. VanBallenberghe's earlier                                                               
testimony  regarding his  involvement with  numerous relocations.                                                               
He inquired  as to  the number of  times Mr.  VanBallenberghe has                                                               
missed the moose when using the anesthetic.                                                                                     
MR. VanBALLENBERGHE  clarified that he  has not been  involved in                                                               
relocating  moose, but  rather has  captured  moose for  research                                                               
purposes.    Therefore, the  procedure  with  which he  has  been                                                               
involved required "knocking  them down" with a  dart gun, placing                                                               
a  collar  on  the  moose,  and gathering  some  data.    In  the                                                               
aforementioned situation, the moose get  up and leave under their                                                               
own power.   Mr. VanBallenberghe informed the  committee that the                                                               
rule of thumb  with wildlife capture operations is to  be able to                                                               
immobilize  animals  with less  than  5  percent mortality.    He                                                               
opined that his  own personal mortality rate with  the capture of                                                               
moose is  around 2 percent.   He noted the potential  of animals,                                                               
after being darted,  running away and injuring  themselves or the                                                               
dart hiting  the moose  in a  vein or an  artery which  kills the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA inquired  as  to how  specific the  Drug                                                               
Enforcement Agency's (DEA) regulations are  with regard to who is                                                               
allowed to handle the moose anesthetic.                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR MASEK  stated that  perhaps the  aforementioned question                                                               
would best be directed to a department official.                                                                                
MR.  VanBALLENBERGHE  said  that ADF&G  typically  purchases  and                                                               
dispenses  the drug.   Furthermore,  ADF&G typically  has one  or                                                               
more veterinarians on staff who  hold the proper licenses.  Also,                                                               
ADF&G  has the  proper  storage facilities,  which are  carefully                                                               
regulated.   Those to  whom the drug  is dispensed  are typically                                                               
researchers with training in the use of the drug.                                                                               
Number 2948                                                                                                                     
KAREN   DEATHERAGE,  Alaska   Program  Associate,   Defenders  of                                                               
Wildlife,  related that  the Defenders  of Wildlife  have serious                                                               
concerns  with SB  329.    She informed  the  committee that  she                                                               
served  on  the Urban  Wildlife  Task  Force for  Anchorage,  the                                                               
purpose of  which was to develop  a plan for managing  the city's                                                               
wildlife and  to identify  priority actions  to help  enhance the                                                               
benefits  of wildlife  to the  community while  minimizing human-                                                               
wildlife conflicts.                                                                                                             
TAPE 04-23, SIDE B                                                                                                            
MS. DEATHERAGE indicated  that the plan [for  managing the city's                                                               
wildlife] was  completed in April  2000, after  exhaustive public                                                               
input.  The  aforementioned plan was adopted  under the Anchorage                                                               
20/20  Anchorage   Bowl  Comprehensive  Plan.     Ms.  Deatherage                                                               
explained that  the plan recognized that  moose provide residents                                                               
and    visitors   in    Anchorage   with    exceptional   viewing                                                               
opportunities.  A poll conducted in  the mid 1990s showed that 87                                                               
percent  of  Anchorage residents  believe  that  while moose  can                                                               
cause some problems, they make  life in Anchorage interesting and                                                               
special.  The poll further  showed that an even higher percentage                                                               
of residents take  pride in the city's wildlife  and believe that                                                               
people should learn to live with some conflict.                                                                                 
MS. DEATHERAGE  related that although  the Defenders  of Wildlife                                                               
respect  the efforts  of the  Alaska Moose  Federation to  reduce                                                               
conflicts  between  moose  and  Alaska  residents,  Defenders  of                                                               
Wildlife  doesn't  believe  that  relocation  is  a  feasible  or                                                               
reasonable solution to resolving  the conflicts between moose and                                                               
people.  However, she noted  that the Defenders of Wildlife would                                                               
support  the transport  of any  road killed  or dispatched  moose                                                               
meat to rural  areas.  Still, the Defenders  of Wildlife believes                                                               
that  the  most  effective   long-term  solution  for  minimizing                                                               
wildlife conflicts  is public education.   The aforementioned has                                                               
been recently  proven with  the collective  efforts of  ADF&G and                                                               
groups such  as Defenders of  Wildlife, which have resulted  in a                                                               
large reduction of  bear conflicts in Anchorage.   She noted that                                                               
Defenders  of  Wildlife also  partnered  with  the National  Park                                                               
Service to prevent conflicts with  wolves in Denali National Park                                                               
and  Preserve.     Ms.  Deatherage  suggested   that  perhaps  an                                                               
alternative solution to SB 329  is for the legislature to support                                                               
the  establishment of  an Anchorage  Moose  Planning Task  Force,                                                               
similar   to   the  Anchorage   Bear   Committee.     Under   the                                                               
aforementioned  solution,   education  and   conflict  resolution                                                               
efforts can  be addressed  at a  comprehensive level  by multiple                                                               
agencies and the public.  "We're  just taking a piece of an issue                                                               
and we're  going to try  to resolve  it with something  that will                                                               
likely be unacceptable  to residents.  And I think  if we look at                                                               
having just  a small task force,  we could put out  a really good                                                               
plan and  some actions in a  very short period of  time that will                                                               
greatly  reduce the  conflicts between  moose and  people in  the                                                               
city," she opined.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  inquired as to the  recommendations of                                                               
the task force working on this problem.                                                                                         
MS.  DEATHERAGE  related  that  in  the  [task  force's]  plan  a                                                               
nuisance moose  "wouldn't be herded  from yards,  gardens, school                                                               
bus tops, roads,  or recreational plans but  an education program                                                               
designed to develop  and distribute information on  these type of                                                               
situations  is  a  high  priority  action in  this  plan."    Ms.                                                               
Deatherage recalled a  recent incident in which a  young boy [was                                                               
hurt] by a moose and there  was evidence that those children were                                                               
harassing   the  moose   with  water   guns  and   other  things.                                                               
Therefore, more  education with regard  to how to  respect moose,                                                               
would greatly  reduce conflicts.  Ms.  Deatherage emphasized that                                                               
the plan  never really looked  at relocation  at the level  it is                                                               
put forth in  SB 329.  The [recommendations of  the plan] haven't                                                               
been implemented at  the level [the Defenders  of Wildlife] would                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG pointed  out  that there  are only  so                                                               
many things  that can be  done to mitigate the  conflicts between                                                               
moose  and people.   Therefore,  he questioned  what can  be done                                                               
with an animal  that becomes a nuisance and is  dangerous to life                                                               
and  property.   He asked  if the  Defenders of  Wildlife believe                                                               
it's appropriate to dispatch an animal.                                                                                         
MS. DEATHERAGE replied yes, which is  why a nuisance moose in the                                                               
plan  is  defined as  an  aggressive  moose.   She  informed  the                                                               
committee  that about  5-10 moose  are [classified  as aggressive                                                               
moose],  and therefore  she wasn't  sure that  [relocation] would                                                               
have the impact  the Alaska Moose Federation  indicates in regard                                                               
to  vehicle collisions.   Ms.  Deatherage reiterated  support for                                                               
dispatching  an aggressive  animal, adding  that she  wasn't sure                                                               
there would be support for relocating an aggressive animal.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  opined that due  to a moose's  size, it                                                               
doesn't have to be aggressive in order to be dangerous.                                                                         
Number 2687                                                                                                                     
MARIE  WARNKE  informed  the  committee  that  she  lives  in  an                                                               
apartment  complex with  six other  families.   Moose are  in the                                                               
yard all  winter and it's  a positive  experience for all  of us.                                                               
Anchorage is the only metropolitan site  in the U.S. with a major                                                               
population  of moose.   She  opined  that most  people enjoy  the                                                               
opportunity to  see and  experience the moose  and don't  want to                                                               
reduce  the  moose population.    Although  there are  occasional                                                               
problems with  moose, she  related her belief  that ADF&G  does a                                                               
good job  managing the  problems.  Most  moose and  human contact                                                               
are preventable with education information.   Ms. Warnke said she                                                               
would be willing to volunteer her  time to educate people on this                                                               
matter.   In conclusion, Ms.  Warnke urged the committee  to hold                                                               
SB 329 until  Anchorage residents could obtain all  the facts and                                                               
provide comments.                                                                                                               
Number 2564                                                                                                                     
LINDA DONEGAN said that she was  unclear as to the purpose of and                                                               
beneficiaries of  SB 329.   She pointed out  that if [SB  329] is                                                               
addressing  nuisance moose  that  ADF&G  would normally  destroy,                                                               
that's only about  10 animals a year.  Ms.  Donegan said that she                                                               
didn't oppose  destroying [nuisance  moose], and  furthermore she                                                               
said she  hasn't heard  any public  outcry against  the practice.                                                               
"It appears  that the purpose  of this legislation is  to provide                                                               
hunting opportunities with these  moose in a suitable, designated                                                               
hunting  area," she  opined.   However, transporting  10 moose  a                                                               
year that may  not even survive a transplant  and predators won't                                                               
significantly  influence the  harvest rate.   She  also mentioned                                                               
that the  meat may  be tainted by  drugs.  If  the purpose  is to                                                               
remove moose posing a significant  risk to the health, safety, or                                                               
economic well  being of persons  in the  area, then why  does the                                                               
legislation include a disclaimer  against lawsuits for damages or                                                               
costs  that arise  from the  practice.   Ms. Donegan  pointed out                                                               
that if  the definition  of "nuisance  moose" is  to extend  to a                                                               
population  reduction program  for Anchorage  and the  moose were                                                               
transplanted  to  areas  where  more  moose  are  desirable,  the                                                               
motivation  becomes clear.   However,  the majority  of Anchorage                                                               
residents  don't  want  the  moose   population  reduced.    When                                                               
Anchorage  residents were  surveyed in  1997, 78  percent claimed                                                               
that they  saw the  right amount  of moose or  would like  to see                                                               
more moose.   In  fact, a planning  group following  [the survey]                                                               
found that  the tolerance for  moose was for far  greater numbers                                                               
than  the habitat  could support.    Additionally, two-thirds  of                                                               
[Anchorage]   residents  tolerated   encounters  with   moose  in                                                               
neighborhoods,   on   trails,  and   in   their   garden.     The                                                               
aforementioned is why  there is no moose hunt in  Anchorage.  Ms.                                                               
Donegan  said  that  she  didn't need  Senator  Gary  Olson,  who                                                               
represents a  minority viewpoint,  doing thinking  for her.   She                                                               
related that there are other  options, besides removing moose, to                                                               
reduce  moose-vehicle  encounters.     The  moose  population  in                                                               
Anchorage is stable and controlled by the habitat.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE related her  understanding that Ms. Donegan                                                               
believes   the  habitat   supports  the   moose  population   [in                                                               
Anchorage].   She inquired as  to where Ms. Donegan  is obtaining                                                               
her information.                                                                                                                
MS. DONEGAN  clarified that socially  the residents  of Anchorage                                                               
would accept  a higher  moose population  than the  habitat could                                                               
support.   The  population is  controlled by  the amount  of food                                                               
available.   In  further response  to Representative  Heinze, Ms.                                                               
Donegan  specified that  she obtained  that information  from the                                                               
planning  group,   Living  with   Wildlife  Planning   Group  for                                                               
Anchorage, that followed the 1997  survey.  All of the statistics                                                               
came from ADF&G, she confirmed.                                                                                                 
Number 2314                                                                                                                     
TOM HARRIS,  President/CEO, Alaska Village  Initiatives, informed                                                               
the  committee that  Alaska Village  Initiatives represents  Bush                                                               
organizations  and  rural  communities throughout  Alaska.    The                                                               
aforementioned areas are experiencing  a significant reduction in                                                               
the moose population.   The Alaska Village  Initiatives exists to                                                               
help rebuild those economies because  the reduction of moose in a                                                               
community requires approximately $4,000  to replace that protein.                                                               
Alaska Village  Initiatives supports SB  329 since it  allows new                                                               
stock to  be brought  into areas  that have  been depleted.   Mr.                                                               
Harris stated  that the habitat is  part of the issue,  the moose                                                               
population  [in  Anchorage]  isn't  stable  but  rather  is  very                                                               
dynamic.  The  development of subdivisions is  forcing moose into                                                               
traffic  areas, which  he predicted  will cause  more collisions.                                                               
Furthermore, because of  the planting of certain  plants in these                                                               
subdivisions more moose are being  attracted to these areas.  Mr.                                                               
Harris characterized  the current  situation as the  beginning of                                                               
the problem and highlighted Anchorage's  approach to the Canadian                                                               
geese problem.   Mr. Harris urged  the committee to take  a close                                                               
look at this issue.                                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR MASEK closed public testimony.                                                                                         
Number 2081                                                                                                                     
MATT ROBUS,  Director, Division of Wildlife  Conservation, Alaska                                                               
Department  of Fish  & Game,  turned to  the immobilizing  agent,                                                               
anesthetic,  used for  moose.   He said  that it's  a high  order                                                               
narcotic that's  extremely potent.   The drug  is used in  a high                                                               
concentration  because  it's  used  to immobilize  a  very  large                                                               
animal quickly.   The aforementioned is  advantageous because the                                                               
large animal  can't go very  far and  can't cause much  damage to                                                               
itself,  others, or  property.   However, the  drug is  extremely                                                               
potent and requires much care.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  inquired as to the  training required to                                                               
administer this drug.   She questioned whether there  are any DEA                                                               
rules regarding this drug.                                                                                                      
MR. ROBUS  explained that [ADF&G]  has its staff  attend training                                                               
courses  with regard  to properly  handling this  drug, which  he                                                               
assumed would be  the case for any third party  staff involved in                                                               
the  captures.   The  department and  its  veterinarian have  the                                                               
authority to procure,  store, and dispense this drug.   Under the                                                               
aforementioned  authority trained  staff are  allowed to  use the                                                               
drug.  Mr. Robus said that many  of the details have to be worked                                                               
out, but  noted that  [the use  of this  drug] would  either fall                                                               
under  ADF&G's  authority  or   the  third  party  organization's                                                               
Number 1918                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA inquired as  to how long the tranquilizer                                                               
stays in an animal's system.   She related her understanding that                                                               
any animals that  are transported will have to be  tagged so that                                                               
it  couldn't  be  taken  for human  consumption.    However,  she                                                               
questioned what  would happen  to an animal  that ate  moose meat                                                               
[before the tranquilizer had left the moose's system].                                                                          
MR. ROBUS informed the committee  that with this tranquilizer the                                                               
animal  goes down  and  is stable  for a  long  time, when  those                                                               
effects need to  be reversed another drug is  injected and within                                                               
a few  minutes the  animal is back  to normal.   In terms  of the                                                               
drug being  in the moose's  system, he related  his understanding                                                               
that  the drugs  would  be  fairly well  metabolized  out of  the                                                               
system.    However,  due to  federal  government  guidelines  and                                                               
sensible  guidelines the  department [requires]  a 45-day  period                                                               
before  the  meat can  be  consumed.   Therefore,  animals  being                                                               
relocated  that  could  potentially  be taken  during  a  hunting                                                               
season  are  tagged with  information  specifying  that the  meat                                                               
can't be  consumed until a  certain date.  The  aforementioned is                                                               
commonly done  with black bear  in Juneau.  In  further response,                                                               
Mr. Robus  said he  thought it  would be  highly unlikely  that a                                                               
moose would  face predation three  days after being handled.   He                                                               
said he  didn't have an  answer with regard  to the effects  on a                                                               
predator eating tainted meat.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  turned to the information  saying that                                                               
250  or more  moose need  to be  moved from  the Anchorage  basin                                                               
annually.  He  asked if Mr. Robus viewed [SB  329] as a reduction                                                               
in ADF&G's workload or an increase due to additional monitoring.                                                                
MR.  ROBUS  said that  those  were  primary concerns  during  the                                                               
initial discussions of  SB 329, which is why  CSSB 329(RES) isn't                                                               
going to  cost the  department anything.   In one  scenario there                                                               
could be a third party that  could be trained and certified to go                                                               
out  and perform  these  [relocations] without  any  cost to  the                                                               
department.  This  third party would work with  the department to                                                               
determine which moose  are targeted and where the  moose would be                                                               
released.    There  could  also  be a  scenario  in  which  ADF&G                                                               
personnel are involved,  but the expenses could  be reimbursed by                                                               
the third party  organization.  He specified that  there are many                                                               
details to be  addressed.  In further  response to Representative                                                               
Guttenberg, Mr. Robus confirmed that  ADF&G was involved with the                                                               
Living With Wildlife study.  In  fact, he related his belief that                                                               
the study  was either sponsored  or partnered by the  Division of                                                               
Wildlife Conservation.   After the  plan went through  the entire                                                               
process,  it was  incorporated into  a larger  municipal planning                                                               
Number 1541                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked if Mr.  Robus saw a conflict with                                                               
this growing  from the public involvement  [of the aforementioned                                                               
study and plan].  He also  asked if this relocation program would                                                               
mesh with anything [in the Living With Wildlife study].                                                                         
MR. ROBUS  said that he  isn't equipped  with the details  of the                                                               
plan.   However,  the  identification  of whether  a  moose is  a                                                               
nuisance or a valuable piece  of Alaska is controversial and will                                                               
have to be  addressed.  Furthermore, some moose  will not survive                                                               
the relocation efforts, which will  also create some controversy.                                                               
Mr. Robus characterized  SB 329 as an alternative  to the current                                                               
status in  which ADF&G and  the Department of Public  Safety face                                                               
dispatching a moose or advising people to give it space.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG recalled  earlier testimony regarding a                                                               
city   moose  having   difficulty   once  located   in  a   rural                                                               
MR. ROBUS indicated that's a  challenge, which led the department                                                               
to request that  it be involved with  determining the destination                                                               
habitat.   A moose placed in  an area where the  moose population                                                               
has  been  driven down  due  to  factors  in  the area,  such  as                                                               
predation, deep  snow, and hunting  pressures, is unlikely  to be                                                               
very successful.   However, placing a moose in an  area where the                                                               
state  is involved  in active  management,  predation levels  are                                                               
low, the  habitat is of high  quality, the moose may  have a fair                                                               
chance of  succeeding.  Like  much of  this, it will  depend upon                                                               
the implementation of the program, he said.                                                                                     
Number 1341                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO remarked  that moose  are in  yards because                                                               
they are  looking for  a good, nutritious  source of  food that's                                                               
easy  to get.   However,  now the  desire is  to force  them out.                                                               
"Are we doing something that's  helpful and beneficial and are we                                                               
looking  at it  from the  moose's point  of view  or are  we just                                                               
trying to protect  ourselves," he asked.  He  noted the enjoyment                                                               
he has with the one to two moose a year he has visiting.                                                                        
CO-CHAIR MASEK pointed  out that it's illegal to  feed or attract                                                               
moose into an area.                                                                                                             
MR.  ROBUS commented  that a  high-density  moose population  has                                                               
been created  in urban areas where  the moose come down  from the                                                               
mountains  when  the  snow  is   deep,  where  there  isn't  much                                                               
predation, and  there are  yard plants that  attract moose.   The                                                               
department  and law  enforcement have  to deal  with these  large                                                               
wild animals and  their public safety implications  no matter the                                                               
decision on this legislation.                                                                                                   
Number 1026                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE inquired  as to whether a  moose would have                                                               
a long, happy life coming down into the bowl or being relocated.                                                                
MR.  ROBUS said  that's difficult  to answer.   The  department's                                                               
basic job is  to provide wildlife for the people  of the state to                                                               
use.   Urban moose [serve  the purpose] of being  enjoyed, except                                                               
when that's not the case, while  those moose in hunting areas are                                                               
used  in a  different manner.    "From our  perspective, ...  our                                                               
greatest purpose is not to prolong  the moose's life for the most                                                               
time,  it's in  order to  provide moose  for people  to use,"  he                                                               
clarified.   If conflicts  can be minimized  along the  way, that                                                               
would be great.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA asked  if  most of  the  moose that  are                                                               
relocated would be placed in areas where they would be hunted.                                                                  
MR. ROBUS  answered that such  as been  worked out.   However, he                                                               
related his  understanding that  one of  the purposes  behind the                                                               
legislation  is  reducing problems  at  the  municipal end  while                                                               
allowing the animals to be available for harvest.                                                                               
Number 0669                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK  asked if ADF&G  is prepared to authorize  a third                                                               
party organization or individual to  carry out the proposal in SB                                                               
329 and determine the designated habitat area.                                                                                  
MR. ROBUS  pointed out that all  of the tasks for  the department                                                               
rely on  a written  application and proposal.   He  surmised that                                                               
organizations  would approach  the  department  with their  ideas                                                               
regarding how  this should be done  and ADF&G would work  them in                                                               
an attempt  to strike  an agreement.   He highlighted  that ADF&G                                                               
will  always be  involved  in what  moose will  be  moved or  not                                                               
moved.  Mr. Robus said the  department is prepared to take on the                                                               
tasks.    In  response  to Representative  Stepovich,  Mr.  Robus                                                               
indicated  that  the  notification  process  could  happen  in  a                                                               
variety of ways.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked if there  is a public process for                                                               
evaluation or a private contract without oversight.                                                                             
MR. ROBUS read the language to  be in the nature of a cooperative                                                               
agreement in which  the state and the party  would negotiate with                                                               
regard  to what's  agreeable.   Once  the  department agreed,  it                                                               
would go  into effect.   Therefore,  he didn't  envision it  as a                                                               
large public process.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG inquired as  to how an individual would                                                               
be able  to influence the department  that a moose in  his or her                                                               
yard isn't a nuisance.                                                                                                          
MR.  ROBUS  said  that  would   have  to  be  determined  in  the                                                               
agreement.  He  emphasized that the moose is the  property of the                                                               
state and thus is managed by  ADF&G no matter whose property it's                                                               
on.   However, he acknowledged  that there are access  issues and                                                               
the private property owner would  be involved in determining what                                                               
happens  with a  state animal  on private  property.   In further                                                               
response to  Representative Guttenberg, Mr. Robus  suspected that                                                               
this  transfer  of   authority  to  a  third   party  does  exist                                                               
elsewhere.   He  noted  that  there is  a  new nuisance  wildlife                                                               
statute that  allows ADF&G  to authorize  others to  handle other                                                               
nuisance wildlife,  but most of  those are done under  permits or                                                               
CO-CHAIR MASEK closed public testimony.                                                                                         
Number 0093                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM   moved  to  report  CSSB   329(RES)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  objected.   Although he  applauded the                                                               
Alaska Moose Federation and it's  goal, there are many unanswered                                                               
TAPE 04-24, SIDE A                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG opined  that  the  Anchorage area  has                                                               
done a lot of research on this  matter and it seems that needs to                                                               
be coordinated with this legislation.                                                                                           
Number 0082                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN commented that  this is legislation for which                                                               
the case can be  made either way.  He noted  that although he has                                                               
some [concerns]  with this legislation,  he applauds  the efforts                                                               
of the sponsor.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH related that  his friend was killed when                                                               
a moose  ran across  the road.   This legislation  seems to  be a                                                               
step in addressing the issue of moose crossing the highways.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE agreed  that this  legislation is  a large                                                               
step in the right direction because  she would rather see a moose                                                               
in a better environment where it is away from harassment.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  said that she has  some questions, which                                                               
she believes  ADF&G can address.   She also said she  believes if                                                               
the third party doesn't create  a practical alternative and there                                                               
aren't  areas  with  suitable habitat  that  the  proposal  won't                                                               
happen.  She  expressed that both sides of this  issue can find a                                                               
solution  so  that  the  moose  aren't  automatically  destroyed.                                                               
Although she  noted her  skepticism, she said  she is  willing to                                                               
give the proposal a chance.                                                                                                     
Number 0542                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG withdrew his objection.                                                                               
CO-CHAIR MASEK, upon determining  there was no further objection,                                                               
announced  that  CSSB 329(RES)  was  reported  out of  the  House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
The committee took an at-ease from 3:20 p.m. to 3:22 p.m.                                                                       
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:22 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects