SCR 9: Creating the Taku River Task Force as a joint legislative task force.

00 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 9 01 Creating the Taku River Task Force as a joint legislative task force. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS the Taku River is Southeast Alaska's largest overall salmon producer, 04 with the region's largest run of coho and chinook salmon and significant runs of sockeye, 05 chum, and pink salmon, and eulachon; and 06 WHEREAS the state tide and submerged land of the Taku River are crucial to the 07 spawning, incubation, and rearing of all five species of wild Pacific salmon, trout, and char; 08 and 09 WHEREAS private recreational property in the Taku River valley represents a 10 valued cultural element of the area; and 11 WHEREAS existing property rights, uses, and access must be protected in all future 12 plans for the Taku River area; and 13 WHEREAS data from the Department of Fish and Game indicates that 40 to 50 14 percent of juvenile salmon in the Taku River watershed are reared below the confluence of the 15 Tulsequah River, with the majority of juvenile king salmon rearing occurring in the main 16 channel of the lower Taku River; and

01 WHEREAS personal use and sport hunting, fishing, and trapping, and the use of 02 recreational personal watercraft and vehicles and aircraft constitute longstanding uses of the 03 Taku River valley; and 04 WHEREAS those uses should be protected and secured for future generations; and 05 WHEREAS the Alaska portion of the Taku River supports significant personal use, 06 commercial, and sport fisheries, generating over 400 fishing-related jobs, an estimated 07 $8,000,000 of annual income from commercial and recreational fishing activity, and more 08 than $25,000,000 from all activities associated with those fisheries; and 09 WHEREAS established businesses use the Taku River to provide supplies to 10 recreational property owners and engage in tourism and sport fishing enterprises on the Taku 11 River; and 12 WHEREAS past proposals to use the Taku River as an industrial transportation 13 corridor involving conventional tug and barge systems or unconventional barges and large 14 wheeled or tracked vehicles introduced significant risk of damage to the river bottom not 15 generated by existing uses of the river's resources; and 16 WHEREAS industrial transportation systems pose significant risks to important fish 17 spawning, incubation, and rearing habitats, could degrade water quality, and may disrupt the 18 ice cover, all of which would be detrimental to the habitat; and 19 WHEREAS user groups such as private recreational property owners, commercial, 20 charter, sport and personal use fishermen, seafood processors, and other local businesses have 21 expressed significant concerns over recent proposals to permit industrial transportation 22 systems on the Taku River; 23 BE IT RESOLVED that the Taku River Task Force is created as a joint task force of 24 the Alaska State Legislature; and be it 25 FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall be composed of eight members, as 26 follows: 27 (1) the senator from Senate District B; 28 (2) the representatives from House District 3 and House District 4; 29 (3) the commissioner of fish and game or the commissioner's designee; 30 (4) four members of the public, appointed jointly by the President of the 31 Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as follows:

01 (A) one owner of private recreational property in the Taku River 02 valley; 03 (B) one holder of a commercial fishing permit for registration area A; 04 (C) one owner or employee of a business that derives significant 05 income from transportation to or within the Taku River; 06 (D) one person who uses but does not consume Taku River resources; 07 and be it 08 FURTHER RESOLVED that the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the 09 House of Representatives shall jointly appoint the chair and vice-chair of the task force; and 10 be it 11 FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall seek the professional opinions of 12 research and management personnel from the Department of Fish and Game and the 13 Department of Natural Resources in carrying out its duties; and be it 14 FURTHER RESOLVED that the duties of the task force shall be to 15 (1) review biological data on Taku River fish and game resources; 16 (2) work cooperatively with appropriate federal, state, and local government 17 agencies to ensure monitoring of industrial vessel traffic on the Taku River; 18 (3) determine how best to protect the Taku's unique resources and maintain 19 the general productivity of Taku River habitat while providing for recreational and other uses; 20 (4) recommend public policy options to ensure the proper protection of Taku 21 River resources; and be it 22 FURTHER RESOLVED that Taku River Task Force meetings shall be open to the 23 public; and be it 24 FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall submit a report of its findings to the 25 legislature not later than December 1, 2011; and be it 26 FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall be terminated on January 31, 2012.