Legislature(2011 - 2012)BUTROVICH 205

03/14/2012 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Moved SB 123 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Moved SB 181 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 14, 2012                                                                                         
                           3:31 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Joe Paskvan, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Co-Chair                                                                                                
Senator Bill Wielechowski, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 123                                                                                                             
"An Act establishing May 10 of each year as Alaska Mining Day."                                                                 
     - MOVED SB 123 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 181                                                                                                             
"An Act  approving an interim classification  by the commissioner                                                               
of  natural resources  closing certain  land  within the  Glacier                                                               
Creek and Winner  Creek drainages to new  mineral entry; amending                                                               
the  mineral entry  closure  in  sec. 2,  ch.  8,  SLA 2003,  for                                                               
certain  land   within  the  Glacier   Creek  and   Winner  Creek                                                               
drainages; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 181 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 159                                                                                                             
"An Act establishing the Susitna State Forest; and providing for                                                                
an effective date."                                                                                                             
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 205                                                                                                             
"An Act establishing the Alaska Chinook research and restoration                                                                
endowment fund and relating to grants from the fund."                                                                           
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 123                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ALASKA MINING DAY                                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) GIESSEL                                                                                                  
04/08/11       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/08/11       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
03/12/12       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/14/12       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: SB 159                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SUSITNA STATE FOREST                                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MENARD                                                                                                   
01/17/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/17/12       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/12/12       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/14/12       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: SB 181                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CLOSING CERTAIN LAND TO MINERAL ENTRY                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) GIESSEL                                                                                                  
01/27/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/27/12       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
01/27/12       (S)       RES RPT RECD W/CS AWAIT TRANSMITTAL NXT                                                                
01/27/12       (S)       RES RPT CS  #DP #DNP #NR #AM                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/14/12       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: SB 205                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CHINOOK RESEARCH & RESTORATION ENDOWMENT                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) OLSON                                                                                                    
02/21/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/21/12       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/12/12       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/12/12       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/14/12       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MIKE SATRIE, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Council of Alaska Producers                                                                                                     
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Absolutely supported SB 123.                                                                              
CHRIS BIRCH                                                                                                                     
Anchorage Municipal Assembly                                                                                                    
Member, Board of Alaska Miners Association-Anchorage                                                                            
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 123.                                                                                         
SENATOR LINDA MENARD                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 159.                                                                                        
MIKE ROVITO                                                                                                                     
Chief of staff for Senator Menard                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Available for questions on SB 123.                                                                        
NICK STEEN, member                                                                                                              
Ruffed Grouse Society-Southcentral Chapter                                                                                      
MatSu, AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT Supported SB 159.                                                                                          
CARL PORTMAN, Deputy Director                                                                                                   
Resource Development Council (RDC)                                                                                              
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 159.                                                                                         
THOR STACY                                                                                                                      
Alaska Professional Hunters Association                                                                                         
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT Supported SB 159.                                                                                          
CHRIS MAISCH, State Forester                                                                                                    
Director, Division of Forestry                                                                                                  
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 159.                                                                                         
DAVE SCOTT                                                                                                                      
Staff to Senator Donald Olson                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT Answered questions about SB 205 for the                                                                    
TIM SMITH, President                                                                                                            
Norton Sound Bering Strait Regional Aquaculture Association                                                                     
Nome, AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 205.                                                                                         
ART NELSON                                                                                                                      
Policy and Outreach Director                                                                                                    
Bering Sea Fishermen's' Association                                                                                             
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 205.                                                                                         
REBECCAS ROBBINS-GISCLAIR                                                                                                       
Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association (YRDFA)                                                                              
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 205.                                                                                         
CASIE STOCKDALE                                                                                                                 
Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP)                                                                                
Bethel, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 205.                                                                                         
LORETTA BULLARD, President                                                                                                      
Kawerak Inc.                                                                                                                    
Nome, AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT Supported SB 205.                                                                                          
ERIC VOLK, Fisheries Scientist                                                                                                  
Division of Commercial Fisheries                                                                                                
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                                                                                      
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions about SB 205 for the                                                                   
JERRY MCCUNE, lobbyist                                                                                                          
Cordova Fishermen United                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 205.                                                                                         
ROBIN SAMUELSON, President and CEO                                                                                              
Bristol Bay Development Corporation (BBEDC)                                                                                     
Dillingham, AK                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Wholeheartedly supported SB 205.                                                                          
JOE FAITH, representing himself                                                                                                 
Dillingham, AK                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Strongly supported SB 205.                                                                                
FRANK WOODS                                                                                                                     
Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA)                                                                                           
Dillingham, AK                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT Supported SB 205.                                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:31:42 PM                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS WAGONER  called  the  Senate Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:31  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Stevens, McGuire, French, Wielechowski, Co-                                                                 
Chair Paskvan and Co-Chair Wagoner.                                                                                             
                    SB 123-ALASKA MINING DAY                                                                                
3:32:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WAGONER  announced consideration of SB  123 [version 27-                                                               
LS0792\M was before the committee].                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  PASKVAN  moved  to  report SB  123,  version  \M,  from                                                               
committee  to  the next  committee  of  referral with  individual                                                               
recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WAGONER objected for public  testimony. He asked Senator                                                               
Giessel if she had anything to add.                                                                                             
SENATOR GIESSEL, sponsor of SB 123, answered no.                                                                                
3:34:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  SATRIE, Executive  Director,  Council  of Alaska  Producers                                                               
(CAP), Juneau, AK,  said he absolutely supported SB  123. He said                                                               
CAP  supports it  not just  because it  recognizes the  important                                                               
role mining  has in  the economy,  but also  the long  and varied                                                               
history of  the many  individuals who have  been involved  in the                                                               
mining industry  and mining  as a  way to  develop infrastructure                                                               
and settlement throughout the state.                                                                                            
He related  that the first  evidence of  mining goes back  to the                                                               
jade  and  copper  that  was traded  throughout  Alaska  and  the                                                               
Pacific  Northwest  through  the original  inhabitants.  And  the                                                               
various  gold   rushes  brought  huge  immigrations   of  western                                                               
settlers  to  the   state,  but  as  people  came,   so  did  the                                                               
infrastructure.  This  bill talks about the  Alaska Railroad; and                                                               
in  Juneau,  the  lights  in the  committee  room  are  partially                                                               
powered  by  the  hydroelectric  facilities at  Annex  Creek  and                                                               
Salmon Creek that  were built to service the AJ  and other mines.                                                               
The water in this building that  people drink also comes from the                                                               
Salmon Creek  reservoir. The  capitol building  has the  pick axe                                                               
and shovel  motif, the gold  of the  sourdoughs dreams is  in the                                                               
state song on  legislative coffee cups and the seal  of the State                                                               
of Alaska has a smelter at the back.                                                                                            
He concluded  saying that today, mom  and pop placer mines  up to                                                               
some  of  the  larger  mines  that get  featured  on  various  TV                                                               
specials are still working as  well as the dredging operations in                                                               
Nome. Modern-day  mining operations  produce the metals  that are                                                               
used in every-day life by people  around the world, and so Alaska                                                               
will continue to be a very strong piece of the economy.                                                                         
3:36:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS BIRCH,  Anchorage Municipal  Assembly, said  he is  also on                                                               
the  Board   of  Alaska  Miners  Association-Anchorage,   and  he                                                               
supports SB  123. South Anchorage  has one of the  only operating                                                               
mines at Crow  Creek. It's a good program and  a good opportunity                                                               
for appropriate recognition.                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER  closed  the public  hearing  and  removed  his                                                               
objection. Finding  no further objections,  he announced  that SB                                                               
123 moved from the Senate Resources Standing Committee.                                                                         
3:38:11 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:38 to 3:41 p.m.                                                                                                  
          SB 181-CLOSING CERTAIN LAND TO MINERAL ENTRY                                                                      
3:41:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WAGONER announced SB 181 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  PASKVAN moved  to bring  SB  181, version  27-LS1257\M,                                                               
before the committee for discussion purposes.                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR WAGONER  objected for discussion purposes  and asked the                                                               
sponsor if she had any comments.                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL, sponsor  of SB  181,  said she  had no  further                                                               
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER,  finding  no  public  testimony,  removed  his                                                               
CO-CHAIR  PASKVAN moved  to  report SB  181  from committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations  and attached fiscal note.  There were                                                               
no  objections  and  SB  181  moved  from  the  Senate  Resources                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             
3:42:45 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease 3:42 to 3:44 p.m.                                                                                                       
                  SB 159-SUSITNA STATE FOREST                                                                               
3:44:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WAGONER announced SB 159  to be up for consideration [SB                                                               
159, 27-LS1179\M was before the committee].                                                                                     
3:45:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR LINDA MENARD, sponsor of  SB 159, introduced her chief of                                                               
staff and said  they were working on a  committee substitute (CS)                                                               
that would address  two items. First, it will  exempt the private                                                               
inholdings  that lie  within the  proposed forest  boundaries and                                                               
secondly, it  will address intent  language that  Senator Stedman                                                               
spoke to during Monday's meeting.                                                                                               
MIKE ROVITO,  chief of staff for  Senator Menard, said he  had no                                                               
testimony and was ready for public testimony.                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR WAGONER found no further testimony off net.                                                                            
3:46:26 PM                                                                                                                    
NICK STEEN,  member, Ruffed Grouse  Society-Southcentral Chapter,                                                               
MatSu,  AK,   supported  SB  159,  but   proposed  modifying  the                                                               
boundaries to include all unencumbered  state lands draining into                                                               
Cook Inlet  between Beluga  Lake and  the southern  boundaries of                                                               
the Denali National and State  Parks. He explained that currently                                                               
the bill  is comprised of  14 non-contiguous parcels of  land and                                                               
keeping   this  land   in  state   ownership  under   the  forest                                                               
designation  is important  to  guaranteeing  continued space  for                                                               
recreational  use   of  ever  expanding  population   centers  in                                                               
Southcentral and  for wildlife,  and to  retain the  character of                                                               
the land most people came to Alaska to experience.                                                                              
He said a state forest  is the least restrictive land designation                                                               
that can be managed for  everyone's benefit with the exception of                                                               
those wishing  to see land  transferred to private  ownership. As                                                               
the  population  of   Southcentral  increases,  the  recreational                                                               
demand can no  longer be met if land is  continued being released                                                               
into private ownership.                                                                                                         
MR.  STEEN said  numerous land  disposal programs  throughout the                                                               
area have  been considered and  much of the waterfront  land with                                                               
easy access points  has already been ceded  to private ownership.                                                               
These private  inholdings will make access  for timber extraction                                                               
He  stated that  interspersing  additional transfers  of land  to                                                               
private  ownership   within  the   land  designated   for  forest                                                               
management  makes no  sense at  all. Under  the recently  enacted                                                               
Susitna Matanuska Area  Plan (SMAP) some of the areas  that he is                                                               
requesting  to be  designated as  a state  forest are  slated for                                                               
land disposal for cabin sites or agriculture.                                                                                   
Transfer  of land  into private  ownership as  envisioned by  the                                                               
drafters  of  our  state  constitution  is  laudable,  Mr.  Steen                                                               
stated, but  as Governor  Hammond said, it  is the  ultimate lock                                                               
up. Private  ownership denies public  use of the  specific parcel                                                               
that frequently controls  access to adjacent public  lands, and a                                                               
NIMBY attitude influences management  of public lands within view                                                               
of that parcel.  This NIMBY attitude impacts  the state's ability                                                               
to  manage  timber  resources,  wildlife  resources,  and  mining                                                               
activities.  Those  who  drafted  the  constitution  didn't  ever                                                               
envision  the   population  growth   that  Alaska   has  recently                                                               
experienced.  A forest  designation  for this  entire area,  even                                                               
though  it  is  not  all productive  timber  land,  will  provide                                                               
uniform management guidelines throughout the area.                                                                              
Multiple  land   designations  lead   to  conflicting   land  use                                                               
regulations.  A forestry  designation  is  the least  controlling                                                               
land use pattern possible and  will afford future generations the                                                               
greatest   opportunity   to   experience   Alaska.   The   forest                                                               
designation can be modified in  the future to accommodate changes                                                               
in  needs.   Returning  private  land  to   public  ownership  is                                                               
difficult, time consuming and cost prohibitive.                                                                                 
In  summary, Mr.  Steen said,  this is  the last  remaining large                                                               
parcel of  state land in Southcentral  that can be set  aside for                                                               
public  use   and  enjoyment.  Effective  management   of  timber                                                               
resources  enhances  wildlife  populations, creates  an  industry                                                               
utilizing a  renewable resource that improves  the economic basis                                                               
of  the community  while supporting  the demand  for recreational                                                               
areas  to hunt,  trap,  fish, snow  machine,  hike and  otherwise                                                               
enjoy the great out-of-doors.                                                                                                   
3:50:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CARL  PORTMAN,  Deputy  Director,  Resource  Development  Council                                                               
(RDC), Anchorage,  AK, supported SB  159. He said  the Department                                                               
of Natural  Resources (DNR) currently  manages 9.5  million acres                                                               
of  forest land  in the  Matanuska and  Susitna Valleys.  Of this                                                               
land, timber  management is allowed on  approximately 2.1 million                                                               
acres. The remaining land is  designated for other uses including                                                               
land  sales,  recreation,  water   uses  and  fish  and  wildlife                                                               
habitat.  Over 3.1  million acres  is protected  in legislatively                                                               
designated state parks, refuges and public use areas.                                                                           
Establishment of  the forest  would insure  that some  land would                                                               
remain available for long term  forest management. It would allow                                                               
the Division  of Forestry to  more actively manage the  lands and                                                               
vegetation to  promote a  variety of forest  ages, which  in turn                                                               
would  maximize  the  sustainable  supply of  timber  from  state                                                               
timber base  and provide  for more  diverse and  healthy habitats                                                               
for  wildlife. In  addition, active  management  would also  help                                                               
reduce wildfire risk.  The Division of Forestry  would manage the                                                               
state  forest  for   a  long-term  supply  of   timber  to  local                                                               
processors and retain land in  state ownership for other multiple                                                               
uses. An enhanced long-term timber  supply would help support the                                                               
forest products  industry, provide  fuel for  sustainable biomass                                                               
energy projects and create new jobs.                                                                                            
It  would  also benefit  the  recreational  sector as  the  state                                                               
intends to  develop access to  new state forests and  encourage a                                                               
broad range of  multiple uses. Those multiple  uses would include                                                               
an  annual   timber  harvest   and  provide   important  economic                                                               
opportunities to local communities,  businesses and residents. It                                                               
is  important to  keep in  mind, Mr.  Portman said,  that SB  159                                                               
would establish  a new  state forest  from state  lands presently                                                               
designated for forest management.  The Susitna State Forest would                                                               
be  managed  consistent  with the  management  intent  under  the                                                               
current Susitna  Matanuska and the  Southeast Susitna  area plan.                                                               
Alaska's  Forest Practices  Act  would also  apply to  management                                                               
activities on  the forest  and is designed  to protect  both fish                                                               
habitat and water quality.                                                                                                      
MR. PORTMAN summarized that RDC  supports SB 159 and believes the                                                               
proposed  state forest  will  be  of much  benefit  to the  local                                                               
economy creating  and sustaining much  needed jobs in  the forest                                                               
products industry while providing many other opportunities.                                                                     
3:53:46 PM                                                                                                                    
THOR STACY, Alaska Professional  Hunters Association, Juneau, AK,                                                               
supported SB 159. He said for an industry that relies on fore-                                                                  
sighted management  practices for  renewable resources  on public                                                               
land they  see the advantages  of the  intent and the  concept of                                                               
this bill,  specifically the  potential for  habitat improvement.                                                               
And in  general, they support  the concept of  renewable resource                                                               
use  and development  in conservation  on public  lands. He  said                                                               
their members rely on this access for opportunity and viability.                                                                
3:55:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. STACY  said he hoped  their "constructive concerns"  could be                                                               
worked out in the management plan  for state forests as it has in                                                               
the past.  He asked for some  ability to work access  in terms of                                                               
timing to hunting seasons with  any kind of timber development or                                                               
infrastructure that  would be commercial  in nature  and outreach                                                               
to members that use the  game management unit in question, mostly                                                               
Unit 16.                                                                                                                        
The other concern  his organization has was just  the ability for                                                               
there to  be interagency communication  in the subsets of  DNR to                                                               
make  sure that  hunting  opportunities are  retained along  with                                                               
other multiple uses.                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR WAGONER  asked him to  tell the committee where  he came                                                               
from to testify.                                                                                                                
MR. STACY said he came from Juneau.                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER commented  that  he was  from  Wiseman, way  up                                                               
MR. STACY remarked  that the forests up in that  area are "pretty                                                               
diminutive in stature."                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER  found  no further  testimony  and  closed  the                                                               
public hearing. He set SB 159 aside.                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR PASKVAN  said Mr. Steen  from Ruffed grouse  Society was                                                               
talking about  adding some land to  this forest and he  wanted to                                                               
know if Mr. Maisch had any comment on that.                                                                                     
3:57:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS MAISCH,  State Forester,  and Director  of the  Division of                                                               
Forestry,  Department of  Natural  Resources  (DNR), Juneau,  AK,                                                               
responded that  Mr. Steen was  encouraging the size of  the state                                                               
forest  to  be   increased  because  all  the   lands  that  were                                                               
classified  for  forestry  purposes   under  the  area  plan  are                                                               
proposed to  be in the  state forest. That area  planning process                                                               
had a  lot of public  input and interagency coordination  and has                                                               
identified  other state  lands for  other  purposes: habitat  for                                                               
wildlife,  agricultural purposes,  settlement,  and  a number  of                                                               
others.  To acquire  additional land  for the  state forest,  the                                                               
division would have  to negotiate with other  state agencies that                                                               
have the  lands designated  in other ways  for higher  and better                                                               
use. It wouldn't  be impossible to make changes, but  it has been                                                               
already  vetted strongly  and this  is the  package they  came up                                                               
CO-CHAIR WAGONER said he would hold SB 159 in committee.                                                                        
        SB 205-CHINOOK RESEARCH & RESTORATION ENDOWMENT                                                                     
3:59:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER announced  SB 205  to be  up for  consideration                                                               
[CSSB 205(RES), labeled 27-LS1312\D, was before the committee].                                                                 
4:00:02 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVE  SCOTT,   staff  to  Senator  Donald   Olson,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  sponsor  of  SB  205, said  he  was  available  for                                                               
4:01:17 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  SMITH,  President,  Norton   Sound  Bering  Strait  Regional                                                               
Aquaculture  Association, Nome,  AK,  supported SB  205. He  said                                                               
something  is  really  wrong  with   King  salmon  statewide  and                                                               
particularly  in western  Alaska.  In Norton  Sound, the  Pilgrim                                                               
River had  44 fish;  last year  was the  same. For  all practical                                                               
purposes that run  is extinct. Another King salmon  run on Boston                                                               
Creek is also going extinct. The  problem is they don't know why;                                                               
there is a lot of speculation  and a lot of possible factors, but                                                               
they won't know  why until research efforts are  stepped up. This                                                               
bill is  a good way  to do it.  He closed  saying it would  be "a                                                               
darned shame"  if we lose  our Chinook runs anywhere.  He started                                                               
commercial  fishing on  the  Yukon  River in  1975  and he  never                                                               
believed it would come to this.                                                                                                 
4:04:03 PM                                                                                                                    
ART   NELSON,   Policy   and  Outreach   Director,   Bering   Sea                                                               
Fishermen's'  Association, Anchorage,  AK, supported  SB 205.  He                                                               
said this  organization has worked to  develop sustainable Bering                                                               
Sea and  western Alaska fishery  resources. He also was  chair of                                                               
the Steering Committee, Arctic  Yukon Kuskokwim (AYK) Sustainable                                                               
Salmon Initiative,  a collaborative  research effort  involving a                                                               
number  of organizations  including  the  Association of  Village                                                               
Council  Presidents,  Tanana  Chiefs  Conference,  Kawerak  Inc.,                                                               
Alaska  Department of  Fish and  Game, National  Marine Fisheries                                                               
Service,  U.S.  Fish and  Wildlife  Service  and the  Bering  Sea                                                               
Fishermen's Association.  He had also  served about six  years on                                                               
the Alaska Board of Fisheries.                                                                                                  
MR. NELSON said  a dramatic shift has been seen  in the abundance                                                               
of Chinook  salmon; many rivers  in western  Alaska, particularly                                                               
the  Unakleet,  the  Yukon/Kuskokwim   and  Nushigak  Rivers,  in                                                               
addition  have suffered  prolonged  declines and  in more  recent                                                               
years, rivers  in Upper  Cook Inlet and  Copper River  are seeing                                                               
declining returns.  It's especially troubling that  many of these                                                               
rivers  are not  even  meeting their  escapement  goals and  have                                                               
significant  restrictions  to  subsistence and  failure  to  meet                                                               
subsistence needs.                                                                                                              
He  said weak  returns  also exacerbate  the allocative  tensions                                                               
between  sport,  commercial and  personal  use  user groups,  and                                                               
those tensions  are already  high when the  runs are  healthy. He                                                               
said  establishing  a  program   to  effectively  understand  and                                                               
address  the  causes  of  the declines  of  Chinook  salmon  will                                                               
require  multi-disciplinary and  multi-year  research across  the                                                               
full  salmon  lifecycle,  especially in  the  marine  environment                                                               
where Chinook  spend 80 to 90  percent of their life  history and                                                               
complete 90  percent of their  growth. Effective  research across                                                               
the  full lifecycle  requires  long-term  stable funding  sources                                                               
such as the one under consideration today.                                                                                      
MR.  NELSON said  over the  past  10 years,  the AYK  Sustainable                                                               
Salmon  Initiative  has funded  a  number  of important  research                                                               
projects  including developing  a  research action  plan for  AYK                                                               
Chinook salmon.  The purpose  is to  identify which  variables or                                                               
processes  are  the  most  likely  causative  factors  in  recent                                                               
declines and  to produce a  detail set or research  priorities in                                                               
targeting  the key  drivers of  Chinook abundance.  This will  be                                                               
accomplished by  establishing a panel of  fisheries scientists to                                                               
review  and   synthesize  the  information  available   from  all                                                               
published sources and directly from  the salmon managers. Drawing                                                               
on  that synthesis,  the panel  will identify  key variables  and                                                               
processes that are affecting Chinook abundance including:                                                                       
     -when during their life history is any variable being                                                                      
     -hypotheses about the processes involved                                                                                   
     -the potential strength of their effect of abundance                                                                       
     -the potential to be affected by management actions                                                                        
The  panel  would  develop detailed  recommendations  for  future                                                               
4:07:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. NELSON said  another project they have been  involved with is                                                               
escapement  goals and  evaluation of  escapement goals  to assure                                                               
sustainable fisheries.  When this project is  completed the panel                                                               
will  offer advice  on the  most appropriate  research approaches                                                               
and  management efforts.  The panel  will consider  the range  of                                                               
approaches and analytical framework such as:                                                                                    
        -what are the best methods for dealing with data                                                                        
     limited situations                                                                                                         
     -what methods exist for determining escapement goals                                                                       
        -which are the best to use in different drainage                                                                        
      -what is the best model for establishing escapement                                                                       
      goals in subsistence dominated fisheries (especially                                                                      
     for the Arctic Yukon Kuskokwim area)                                                                                       
4:08:24 PM                                                                                                                    
He said there are a number  of other examples of endowment funded                                                               
research programs  in Alaska and  each has  extensive involvement                                                               
by   state  agencies,   staff  and   scientists.  The   sustained                                                               
endowment-based funding  from these has enabled  organizations to                                                               
undertake  high  quality   long-term  interdisciplinary  research                                                               
programs, but this one is ideal,  because it's focused on such an                                                               
important fish to Alaska. It's the  state fish and it's the least                                                               
numerous of  the five species,  but the  most highly prized  by a                                                               
lot of Alaskans.                                                                                                                
MR. NELSON  thanked Senator Olson  and Representative  Herron and                                                               
their staffs and co-sponsors for creating SB 205.                                                                               
4:09:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCAS   ROBBINS-GISCLAIR,  Yukon   River  Drainage   Fisheries                                                               
Association (YRDFA),  Anchorage, AK,  supported SB 205.  She said                                                               
YRDFA is  an association of commercial  and subsistence fishermen                                                               
and women on the Yukon River  with a mission of promoting healthy                                                               
wild fisheries and cultures on the Yukon River.                                                                                 
She said  that salmon are  a critical resource in  western Alaska                                                               
where it  serves as a primary  source of food and  the commercial                                                               
fisheries are one of the only  means of income. Chinook salmon in                                                               
particular  are  an  essential  part of  the  culture,  diet  and                                                               
economy in that region. The  Chinook salmon are declining rapidly                                                               
on  the Yukon  River and  nobody is  sure what  the reasons  are.                                                               
Escapement goals  to Canada haven't  been met since  2007 despite                                                               
some  pretty   dramatic  restrictions  on   subsistence  harvest.                                                               
Subsistence  needs as  specified by  the Board  of Fisheries  for                                                               
amounts  necessary for  subsistence haven't  been met  since 2008                                                               
and it's  like they will not  have been met in  2011 when numbers                                                               
come in.                                                                                                                        
MS. ROBBINS-GISCLAIR said commercial  fishing for King salmon has                                                               
been  pretty much  eliminated; commercial  Chum salmon  fisheries                                                               
have also been restricted to protect  the King salmon that are in                                                               
the river  at the  same time.  Even when  escape goals  have been                                                               
met, the subsequent returns from  the escapements have been poor.                                                               
These  declines  have  had  a  dramatic  effect  on  Yukon  River                                                               
communities. Very  little information is available  about what is                                                               
causing it  or how to  plan for future  run sizes. Chinook  are a                                                               
long-lived  species and  it's critical  to have  a dedicated  and                                                               
consistent source of funding for  Chinook salmon research, so its                                                               
lifecycle can  be studied.   This  type of  research needs  to be                                                               
well coordinated and funded over an extended period.                                                                            
She explained that some federal  funds were allocated to research                                                               
this issue, but there were still gaps in the data.                                                                              
4:14:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CASIE  STOCKDALE,  Association   of  Village  Council  Presidents                                                               
(AVCP), Bethel,  AK, supported  SB 205.  She said  she is  also a                                                               
biologist and that  AVCP is a recognized  tribal organization and                                                               
non-profit  Alaska regional  corporation  representing 56  member                                                               
indigenous villages  in Western Alaska. She  thanked the sponsors                                                               
of SB  205 saying the Chinook  stocks in the Yukon  and Kuskokwim                                                               
drainages and  the Chinook stocks  throughout the AYK  region are                                                               
in  a serious  state of  decline. Currently,  on both  rivers the                                                               
productivity for Chinook is at  or below one recruit per spawner,                                                               
meaning that the  population can barely replace  itself even with                                                               
no  harvest.  These  sharp   declines  have  prompted  widespread                                                               
restrictions  and   closures  of  subsistence  and   small  scale                                                               
commercial  fisheries each  year,  causing nutritional,  economic                                                               
and  cultural disaster  for those  who depend  on the  returns of                                                               
these salmon stocks.                                                                                                            
In  response,  she  said  that AVCP  recently  hosted  a  special                                                               
convention  to  identify ways  to  conserve  Chinook and  how  to                                                               
incorporate  tribes  in  their management.  The  executive  board                                                               
passed Resolution  12-03-03 expressing  full support for  HB 332,                                                               
establishment  of   the  Alaska   Chinook  Salmon   Research  and                                                               
Restoration Endowment  Fund. AVCP  also strongly supports  SB 205                                                               
as  there  is   an  urgent  need  to   create  stable,  long-term                                                               
diversified   sources  of   funding  to   implement  high-quality                                                               
research and  restoration programs to  address the causes  of the                                                               
declines of the Chinook salmon.                                                                                                 
4:17:34 PM                                                                                                                    
LORETTA BULLARD, President, Kawerak  Inc., Nome, AK, supported SB                                                               
205.  She   said  Kawerak  is   the  regional   tribal  nonprofit                                                               
association for  the Bergin Straits  region. They have  seen huge                                                               
decline's in Chinook returns in  northern Norton Sound as well as                                                               
southern Norton Sound.  In 2011, only 44 Chinook  returned to the                                                               
Pilgrim  River  and in  2003  when  they first  started  counting                                                               
there, the  Chinook run was  1,016. On  the North River  close to                                                               
Unakleet,   which  is   very  dependent   on  Chinook   for  both                                                               
subsistence and personal fisheries  as well as Chinook commercial                                                               
fishery, their  runs have gone  from 1,452  in 2003 down  to 864.                                                               
The Chinook  runs in  2003 on  the Koniaq  by Ilum,  the longest-                                                               
running counting  tower in the  Bering straits region  managed by                                                               
the ADF&G,  were at  744 and  last year  it had  gone down  to 57                                                               
fish.  They  question  whether  or  not  these  stocks  can  even                                                               
biologically sustain themselves.                                                                                                
Their  concerns   have  been  brought  to   their  regional  fish                                                               
biologists  who say  these are  naturally occurring  declines and                                                               
nothing can  be done. But  they are  very concerned about  it and                                                               
support this  project so the  declines can be  addressed. Because                                                               
of the extremely poor returns, they  sought to have a Chinook and                                                               
Chum disaster  declared by  the U.S.  Department of  Commerce for                                                               
the stocks in Norton Sound  two years ago, but weren't successful                                                               
because while the Chinook return  was way down in southern Norton                                                               
Sound (that  doesn't have a  commercial fishery),  the commercial                                                               
fishermen  in southern  Norton Sound  were able  to offset  their                                                               
economic losses  by fishing other  stock. Therefore,  no economic                                                               
disaster occurred, so  therefore a disaster was  not declared. In                                                               
northern Norton  Sound, the commercial fisheries  had been closed                                                               
for  so  long  that  an economic  disaster  declaration  was  not                                                               
possible, since a disaster is  determined by the decline over the                                                               
previous  five  years  of average  fishing  income.  Ms.  Bullard                                                               
stated  this  is  not  an  income  issue;  their  stocks  are  so                                                               
depressed  that they  wonder  if they  will  survive. Yet,  there                                                               
doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency in terms of addressing it.                                                                
She feared  the situation  is worse than  it appears,  because on                                                               
the Pilgrim where stocks have  gone from over 1,000 fish annually                                                               
down to  44 last  summer, there  is no  escapement goal  and that                                                               
means there is no escapement goal to worry about meeting.                                                                       
4:22:52 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 4:22 to 4:25 p.m.                                                                                                  
4:25:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WAGONER called the meeting back to order at 4:25 p.m.                                                                  
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he supported  the bill, but asked ADF&G                                                               
if this  program should  be limited to  just Chinook  salmon. The                                                               
MatSu Valley  has had low  salmon returns  for a number  of years                                                               
and a  Cook Inlet Salmon  Task Force  was assembled to  figure it                                                               
out. Other areas of the state experience low returns, too.                                                                      
4:26:52 PM                                                                                                                    
ERIC   VOLK,   Fisheries   Scientist,  Division   of   Commercial                                                               
Fisheries,   Alaska  Department   of  Fish   and  Game   (ADF&G),                                                               
Anchorage, AK,  responded that  there is  ample room  for funding                                                               
for all  salmon species in  Alaska and they all  have substantial                                                               
knowledge gaps  and could  be managed  better. He  said, however,                                                               
that Chinook salmon represent an area of special concern.                                                                       
4:28:03 PM                                                                                                                    
JERRY  MCCUNE, lobbyist,  Cordova Fishermen  United, Juneau,  AK,                                                               
supported  SB 205.  He said  doing research  in some  areas would                                                               
help  gathering more  information  about  other species,  because                                                               
sometimes the  streams are  right next  to each  other.   He said                                                               
it's tough  enough for the department  to get funding to  just do                                                               
some  of the  research  they  do now,  but  Alaska  has the  last                                                               
abundance of  wild Chinook in  the world.  Most of the  stocks in                                                               
Washington and Oregon are hatchery stocks.                                                                                      
MR.  MCCUNE said  he understood  the  distrust of  ADF&G in  some                                                               
areas, but someone  has to be in  charge. If he was  on the board                                                               
today from Southcentral,  the first thing he would want  to do is                                                               
have the department write a report  to get a baseline on what the                                                               
gaps  in information  are from  each area  and where  the Chinook                                                               
4:29:56 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBIN  SAMUELSON,  President  and CEO,  Bristol  Bay  Development                                                               
Corporation (BBEDC), Dillingham,  AK, wholeheartedly supported SB                                                               
205. He said BBEDC represents  17 villages within the Bristol Bay                                                               
region and they  have had problems with their  Chinook salmon for                                                               
the last 30  years, and things are getting worse.  The first time                                                               
was  when the  Japanese  high seas  drift  fleet annihilated  the                                                               
Chinook in  western Alaska  by taking 275,000  in one  year. From                                                               
there they  went into a  20-year rebuilding mode.  The rebuilding                                                               
mode  was  working,  but  then the  offshore  trawl  fishery  was                                                               
happening  and  they  again  noticed a  decline  in  the  salmons                                                               
He remarked that the Nushigak,  the biggest river in Bristol Bay,                                                               
has not been making escapement for  the last few years. It hasn't                                                               
had a commercial salmon season  and restrictions have been placed                                                               
on   sports  fishermen;   fortunately  subsistence   hasn't  been                                                               
restricted. However,  in Togiak, Naknek, Quijak,  Egegik, Ugashik                                                               
and Port  Heiden it's a  whole different story. Their  stocks are                                                               
so small  now that  they might  not come  back. This  money would                                                               
allow them  to set up enhancement  projects to get the  runs back                                                               
over time.                                                                                                                      
MR.  SAMUELSON  related that  just  two  or  three years  ago,  a                                                               
Chinook cap was  placed on the trawl fisheries in  the Bering Sea                                                               
thanks to the State of Alaska, but  this bill is one of the major                                                               
pieces of legislation that will  save Chinook salmon whether it's                                                               
in Southeast, Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay, or Norton Sound.                                                                         
4:32:28 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE  FAITH,   representing  himself,  Dillingham,   AK,  strongly                                                               
supported SB 205.  King salmon help define Alaska to  the rest of                                                               
the world, he said. They  are important to subsistence, which has                                                               
important nourishment,  economic and  cultural values.  Last year                                                               
he chose not subsistence fish  for Kings on the Nushigak, because                                                               
of his  concern. Kings are  also important to  commercial fishing                                                               
in  Bristol Bay  where he  has direct-marketed  Kings for  $5/lb.                                                               
Another direct  marketer told  him that she  did it  for $10/lb.,                                                               
but last  year there was  no commercial King season.  The concern                                                               
for  Kings also  affected  Red salmon  fishing  on the  Nushigak,                                                               
because  ADF&G put  restrictions  on those  to  meet King  salmon                                                               
4:33:51 PM                                                                                                                    
FRANK WOODS,  Bristol Bay Native Association  (BBNA), Dillingham,                                                               
AK, supported SB 205. He  said the Alaska Chinook Salmon Research                                                               
and  Restoration  Endowment  Fund  would  enhance  research  from                                                               
beginning to end. A lot more  people are needed to be involved in                                                               
the processes of salmon management, habitat and research.                                                                       
MR. WOODS related that BBNA  represents 31 Bristol Bay tribes and                                                               
they have much  in common with other regions'  stocks of concern.                                                               
He asked them  to remove section 4(b)(1) in  section 37.14.685 of                                                               
SB 205 [page 6,  lines 19-20] that says you have  to be listed by                                                               
the ADF&G as  a "stock of concern" in order  to be considered for                                                               
the grant process,  because some of these rivers  have such small                                                               
Chinook returns  that their numbers  aren't even listed.  He also                                                               
asked  them   to  eliminate  "(4)  declined   significantly  from                                                               
historic yield levels" as a qualification for a grant.                                                                          
4:37:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER,  finding  no further  testifiers,  closed  the                                                               
public hearing.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR STEVENS asked Mr. Scott  to comment on Mr. Woods thoughts                                                               
on the criteria for grants on page 6.                                                                                           
4:38:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCOTT  responded that the  sponsor would consider  them; they                                                               
are not digging in their heels.                                                                                                 
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked what  he thought about  extending the                                                               
fund to salmon stocks across the state.                                                                                         
MR. SCOTT replied  that the sponsor wouldn't  support doing that,                                                               
not because  other salmon  stocks don't  need that  research, but                                                               
because King stocks require special attention.                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  WAGONER said  in looking  at items  (1) through  (4) on                                                               
page  6, he  understood Mr.  Wood's concern  about the  runs that                                                               
have  gone so  far down  that they  are below  the criteria,  and                                                               
thought that language could be taken care of easily.                                                                            
SENATOR FRENCH noted that those items  were a series of "ors" and                                                               
meant that it  doesn't matter if it's not a  stock of concern, as                                                               
long  as  it  has  declined  significantly  from  historic  yield                                                               
CO-CHAIR WAGONER said he would hold SB 205 in committee.                                                                        
4:41:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   WAGONER  adjourned   the  Senate   Resources  Standing                                                               
Committee meeting at 4:41 p.m.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
draft CS SB 205 v.D.PDF SRES 3/14/2012 3:30:00 PM
SB 205
Draft CS SB 205 v.D - sectional.pdf SRES 3/14/2012 3:30:00 PM
SB 205
SB 205 HB 332 - Map of Public Member Regions.pdf SRES 3/14/2012 3:30:00 PM
HB 332
SB 205
SB 205 BSFA problem document 3-12.pdf SRES 3/14/2012 3:30:00 PM
SB 205