Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

02/15/2006 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
03:50:30 PM Start
03:55:28 PM Confirmation Hearing || Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission
04:04:15 PM SB262
04:20:31 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
Big Game Commercial Services Board
Ralph Anderson, Roy Ashenfelter, Colin
Brown, Paul Johnson, Richard Rohrer,
Betty Jo Schmitz, Ted Spraker
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission
Bruce Twomley
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 15, 2006                                                                                        
                           3:50 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Ralph Seekins, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING:                                                                                                         
Commercial Fisheries Limited Entry Commission - Bruce Twomley                                                                   
     CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                      
SENATE BILL NO. 262                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to riparian protection standards for forest                                                                    
resources and practices; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 262                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FOREST RESOURCES & PRACTICES STANDARDS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
02/01/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/01/06       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
02/15/06       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
BRUCE TWOMLEY                                                                                                                   
Juneau AK 99801                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Nominee to the Commercial Fisheries Entry                                                                 
Commission (CFEC).                                                                                                              
MARTY FREEMAN, Manager                                                                                                          
Forest Resources Program                                                                                                        
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
400 Willoughby Ave.                                                                                                             
Juneau, AK  99801-1724                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 262.                                                                                         
RICK SMERIGLIO                                                                                                                  
Board of Forestry                                                                                                               
Moose Pass AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 262.                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
VICE  CHAIR RALPH  SEEKINS called  the Senate  Resources Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 3:50:30 PM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Kim  Elton,  Fred  Dyson,  Bert  Stedman  and  Vice  Chair  Ralph                                                               
Seekins, who announced that he would chair the meeting today.                                                                   
^CONFIRMATION HEARING                                                                                                         
^COMMERCIAL FISHERIES ENTRY COMMISSION                                                                                        
BRUCE  TWOMLEY,   nominee  to  the  Commercial   Fisheries  Entry                                                               
Commission (CFEC) said  he was first appointed  to the commission                                                               
by Governor Jay  Hammond in 1982. Prior to that,  he was a lawyer                                                               
with Alaska Legal Services for 10 years.                                                                                        
SENATOR ELTON  said he thought  it was remarkable to  find people                                                               
like Mr. Twomley who have  served under many different people and                                                               
no one can say anything bad about him.                                                                                          
3:55:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON  moved to  forward Mr. Twomley's  name to  the full                                                               
body. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                           
3:55:48 PM at ease 3:57:05 PM                                                                                               
         SB 262-FOREST RESOURCES & PRACTICES STANDARDS                                                                      
VICE  CHAIR  RALPH  SEEKINS  announced   SB  262  to  be  up  for                                                               
MARTY FREEMAN,  Manager, Forest Resources Program,  Department of                                                               
Natural Resources (DNR),  said she served as the  co-chair of the                                                               
two  committees that  helped develop  this bill  - a  science and                                                               
technical committee and an implementation  group. She also serves                                                               
as  the division's  liaison to  the Board  of Forestry.  She said                                                               
that SB 262 is the result of  hard work by many people, which has                                                               
resulted  in broad  support. It  responds to  a request  from the                                                               
Board  of  Forestry  that  the   resources  agencies  review  the                                                               
riparian   management  standards   throughout   the  state.   She                                                               
previously completed  a review for  region 1, the  coastal region                                                               
of  Alaska, in  1999  and  a similar  review  for  region 3,  the                                                               
Interior, in 2003.                                                                                                              
The review for  region 2, parts of Southcentral  Alaska, has been                                                               
completed. SB  262 is not  a wholesale  revision of the  Act, but                                                               
rather  targets   and  is  tailored  to   standards  of  riparian                                                               
management and stream buffer standards  that are unique to region                                                               
2, which has  been using interim standards since  1990. Under the                                                               
interim standards, timber  harvesting could occur up  to the bank                                                               
of anadromous streams under certain  conditions while the rest of                                                               
the  state has  buffers on  all anadromous  waters. She  said the                                                               
Board of Forestry endorsed the bill.                                                                                            
MS. FREEMAN  said that key  points in the bill's  development are                                                               
that the process was based on  the best available science and was                                                               
developed  with many  diverse  interests  involved. The  proposed                                                               
changes  help  insure that  the  goals  of  the Act,  to  provide                                                               
adequate  protection to  fish habitat  and water  quality and  to                                                               
support healthy timber and fishing industries, are met.                                                                         
The bill  classifies water  bodies that  have anadromous  fish or                                                               
high-value  resident fish  into four  types. High-value  resident                                                               
fish  are populations  that are  actually harvested  and used  by                                                               
someone.  The four  types  are types  2A and  2B,  and the  large                                                               
dynamic  rivers,  both  glacial  and non-glacial.  These  have  a                                                               
recommended buffer of  150 ft. with provisions  for widening that                                                               
buffer where  there are  actively eroding  banks. The  purpose of                                                               
these buffers  is primarily  to get large  woody debris  into the                                                               
stream, which  helps to provide  fish habitat by  creating pools,                                                               
islands  and   providing  substrate  for  growth   of  the  macro                                                               
invertebrates that are important for food.                                                                                      
On  smaller, and  both glacial  and  non-glacial, dynamic  rivers                                                               
less  than 50  ft. wide,  that have  stable banks,  and on  lakes                                                               
there is  a recommended buffer  of 100  ft., which is  similar to                                                               
the existing standard.  For the smallest streams  less than three                                                               
ft.  wide,  the buffer  would  be  50 ft.  In  the  next 50  ft.,                                                               
harvesting  can  occur,  but  can't   cause  rutting  that  would                                                               
introduce sediment into the small streams.                                                                                      
MS. FREEMAN said  that SB 262 also applies  riparian standards to                                                               
estuaries that are adjacent to  anadromous or high-value resident                                                               
fish streams;  however region  2 has few  of these  estuaries. It                                                               
also includes a  definition for riparian area means  for region 2                                                               
that is based on the  proposed buffer standards. Lastly, the bill                                                               
keeps in  place a special  management zone, which extends  out to                                                               
300  ft.  from  the  stream  bank  on  anadromous  or  high-value                                                               
resident fish streams  and in that area timber  harvesting has to                                                               
be designed  to maintain or  enhance important  wildlife habitat.                                                               
This applies to state land only.  This is an existing standard in                                                               
the  Act,  but  the  bill  makes it  clear  that  it's  not  just                                                               
maintenance of habitat; it can be maintenance or enhancement.                                                                   
She  said the  recommended  buffers are  wider  than the  interim                                                               
standards on the large dynamic rivers  and the 2A and 2B streams;                                                               
they are narrower on the smaller  ones, 2D class; and the same on                                                               
2C,  the remainder  of the  streams. These  buffers are  tailored                                                               
specifically to the unique conditions in region 2.                                                                              
Scientists  have  identified  several  reasons  for  using  wider                                                               
buffers for the  dynamic rivers in region 2. First,  many more of                                                               
the  large   dynamic  rivers  occur   in  forested   areas  where                                                               
harvesting is  an option. That's  different from either  region 1                                                               
or  region 3.  Secondly, the  timber volumes  per acre  are lower                                                               
there than in either  regions 3 or 1. That means  to get the same                                                               
amount  of wood  in the  stream to  provide habitat,  it must  be                                                               
collected  from a  larger area.  Timber values  are also  less in                                                               
region 1.                                                                                                                       
4:04:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Third, more of  the wood that is in the  riparian area consist of                                                               
deciduous  trees,  particularly  cottonwoods,  which  decay  more                                                               
quickly  and, therefore,  don't stay  as  long in  the stream  to                                                               
provide  habitat.  Fourth,  there  is  a  wider  distribution  of                                                               
anadromous and  high-value resident fish streams  in the forested                                                               
portions of  this region and lastly,  there is disproportionately                                                               
high-use of  the fish in  high-value fisheries,  particularly for                                                               
sport fishing. Region 2 covers only  about 11 percent of the land                                                               
area in the  state, but it accounts  for 30 to 50  percent of the                                                               
recreational fishing.                                                                                                           
4:04:53 PM                                                                                                                    
The bill  has one technical  error on page  5, line 26,  where AS                                                               
41.17.118 is repealed  and reenacted. It should  say AS 41.17.118                                                               
(a)  only.   There  is  no   intent  to  change  the   two  other                                                               
subsections, (b) and (c).                                                                                                       
4:05:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEDMAN  said  he  didn't  see  letters  of  support  or                                                               
opposition, but he figured there had  been a lot of work done and                                                               
compromise within the industry.                                                                                                 
MS. FREEMAN  agreed that was  correct. Letters have come  in from                                                               
the  Mental Health  Trust Land  Management  Office, the  Resource                                                               
Development   Counsel   (RDC),    Department   of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC). The Alaska  Forest Association also supported                                                               
SB 262.                                                                                                                         
4:06:27 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  SEEKINS said  he didn't want  to clutter  up statutes                                                               
with findings and  asked if the department would  object if those                                                               
were eliminated and the committee attached a letter of intent.                                                                  
MS. FREEMAN replied  that she understood that would  be fine. The                                                               
Board of Forestry  wanted the findings included to  make it clear                                                               
that these provisions apply specifically to region 2.                                                                           
4:08:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS asked her to explain  in more detail why region 2                                                               
was treated differently than regions 1 and 3.                                                                                   
MS. FREEMAN  replied that the  forest conditions and  the species                                                               
and distribution of the fish are different in those regions.                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  that  the  buffer is  double  in region  2                                                               
compared to regions 1 and 3.                                                                                                    
MS. FREEMAN  replied that  the buffer  is 66 ft.  in region  1 on                                                               
state land and  100 ft. on private and public  land; in region 3,                                                               
it's 100 ft. The difference is  the extent of overlap between the                                                               
large dynamic  rivers and forest habitat  where there's potential                                                               
for harvesting  and the conditions  of the forest -  lower timber                                                               
volumes, higher  fish value and  for a species that  don't reside                                                               
in the water  as long, in terms of their  ability to provide fish                                                               
habitat. That is specific to the large dynamic rivers.                                                                          
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked what  the standards are  in 2B  waters for                                                               
regions 1 and 3.                                                                                                                
4:10:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. FREEMAN replied that the  classification system for waters is                                                               
different  in  each  region.  In  region  1,  types  1A  are  the                                                               
anadromous  waters  that are  low  gradient  streams -  the  most                                                               
productive  are salmon  streams. Type  1B waters  are anadromous,                                                               
but with a  higher gradient. Type C and D  waters are tributaries                                                               
to anadromous  streams that are  not anadromous,  themselves, and                                                               
those  are broken  out  based on  different  gradients above  and                                                               
below 12  percent. The standards for  type 1A on public  land are                                                               
100 ft.  in both cases;  on private land it's  66 ft.. On  type B                                                               
streams  it's 66  ft. or  to the  break of  the slope,  whichever                                                               
comes first.  Those are  streams that  are typically  incised and                                                               
controlled by bedrock so the channel isn't moving around.                                                                       
4:11:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS asked  if that includes the outer  bends that are                                                               
subject to erosion.                                                                                                             
MS. FREEMAN replied  that those rivers are  typically not eroding                                                               
in the  same way that 50  ft. wide and greater  rivers are. Those                                                               
have  a very  dynamic channel.  The channels  for the  1A and  1B                                                               
waters where  they are overlapping  with the harvested  areas are                                                               
not the same kind as those of a large dynamic river, typically.                                                                 
SENATOR  SEEKINS   asked  if   the  buffer   for  2B   waters  in                                                               
subparagraph (2), is  325 ft. in region 2, but  66 ft. in regions                                                               
1 and 3.                                                                                                                        
MS. FREEMAN replied yes - the  325 ft. buffer is only on actively                                                               
eroding bends and  if a terrace doesn't exist  that would prevent                                                               
the riverbank from actually eroding.                                                                                            
She explained  that large  woody debris gets  into rivers  in two                                                               
different ways. On the large  dynamic rivers it occurs by natural                                                               
erosion of  the bank; on  the smaller  streams it occurs  by tree                                                               
fall from  the bank  into the  stream. Where  the stream  bank is                                                               
stable, the  buffer is set basically  by the height of  the tree.                                                               
Within  two-thirds of  tree height,  you  get 95  percent of  the                                                               
large woody debris  into the stream. On the  large dynamic rivers                                                               
it occurs by the river actually moving.                                                                                         
4:12:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  if the  standards in  the bill  have been                                                               
agreed to by the timber industry.                                                                                               
MS. FREEMAN replied yes.                                                                                                        
SENATOR SEEKINS said  he was confused by the line  that was drawn                                                               
half-way down the middle of the Kenai Peninsula.                                                                                
MS. FREEMAN  informed him  that the line  is actually  a division                                                               
between forest  types. The east  side of the Kenai  Peninsula has                                                               
coastal forest  with Sitka Spruce  and Western Hemlock;  the west                                                               
side has white spruce and mixed hard woods.                                                                                     
She  pointed  out  that  one  of the  important  things  for  the                                                               
industry in  SB 262 is  that on  the smaller streams  the buffers                                                               
are narrowed.  Many of them  are unnamed and unmapped,  but there                                                               
is a  very dense  network. In  region 2,  they are  anadromous if                                                               
they have water  for the most part, which is  very different than                                                               
region 1 that  has high-gradient streams. The  existing buffer on                                                               
those  streams is  100 ft.  now and  that was  of concern  to the                                                               
industry, because it's very difficult  to design around a network                                                               
of very tiny streams.                                                                                                           
SENATOR SEEKINS  said he thought the  Kenai River was in  both of                                                               
those districts.                                                                                                                
MS. FREEMAN replied that it does  flow through both; it is one of                                                               
the three glacial rivers that has  stable banks and has a 100 ft.                                                               
buffer - a type 2C.                                                                                                             
4:14:34 PM                                                                                                                    
RICK SMERIGLIO, Moose  Pass, said he is a member  of the Board of                                                               
Forestry, which has  endorsed the proposal.  He said  there was a                                                               
lack of opposition,  because of the consensus that  went into it.                                                               
He was assured by the  governor's special assistant for resources                                                               
that  it  was  not  the  intent  to delete  (b)  and  (c)  of  AS                                                               
41.17.118(a)(b)(c)  and that  it  was a  drafting oversight  that                                                               
could be fixed with a technical amendment.                                                                                      
VICE CHAIR  SEEKINS said he  would hold  SB 262 for  further work                                                               
and adjourned the meeting at 4:20:31 PM.                                                                                      

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