Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/08/2002 01:15 PM House RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 178-MANAGMENT OF FISH AND GAME                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced  the next order of  business, 3d SPONSOR                                                               
SUBSTITUTE  FOR HOUSE  BILL  NO.  178, "An  Act  relating to  the                                                               
powers  and duties  of the  commissioner  of fish  and game,  the                                                               
Department of  Fish and Game,  and the  Board of Game,  to taking                                                               
and  use of  certain game  animals, and  to consideration  of the                                                               
budget of  the Department  of Fish and  Game by  the legislature;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
Number 1176                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE,  sponsor, explained  that the  bill provides                                                               
for  a  maximum sustained  yield  of  game  animals based  on  an                                                               
"historic high population,"  which is clarified in  the bill, and                                                               
it takes into account the habitat  and the historic climates.  It                                                               
mandates active  management of wildlife resources  to comply with                                                               
the  "maximum  benefit  clause" of  the  state  constitution,  he                                                               
asserted, adding  that the bill  allows for not only  "high human                                                               
harvest,"  but  also  high   game  populations,  "increasing  the                                                               
aesthetic value of  having large numbers of animals."   He said a                                                               
harvest  goal is  15 percent  to 33  percent of  surplus animals,                                                               
which  would be  "identified  from after  calving  and after  the                                                               
survival rate of after calving."                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE   told  members  the  bill   reconfirms  and                                                               
clarifies  the duty  of  the  commissioner and  the  board.   One                                                               
change,  he said,  is  that  the statute  says  something to  the                                                               
effect  that  it  is  the  board's duty  to  manage,  whereas  he                                                               
believes it is  the administration's duty to  manage.  Therefore,                                                               
the  bill uses  the word  "allocate" instead.   Furthermore,  the                                                               
bill removes  the ability to hire  specific enforcement officers,                                                               
but retains  the right of  the state troopers who  have fish-and-                                                               
game protection and enforcement  responsibility.  Furthermore, it                                                               
retains the responsibility of the  commissioner to deputize those                                                               
people in the Alaska Department of  Fish and Game (ADF&G) who are                                                               
in the  field, and clarifies  those people  who are in  the field                                                               
who have  the ability to  enforce game  laws.  He  concluded, "In                                                               
the main,  this bill  just simply  mandates active  management of                                                               
fish and game with a priority for a goal of high human harvest."                                                                
Number 1467                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE,  in  response to  Representative  Kerttula,                                                               
said the 15-to-33  percent is in line with "other  game taking of                                                               
other states."  He added:                                                                                                       
     At the present  time, ... the human harvest  of game is                                                                    
     so low  that it's  almost ... negligible,  somewhere in                                                                    
     the neighborhood  of maybe 3  percent.  And this  is an                                                                    
     endeavor ... to  not specify how much you  have to take                                                                    
     - because nobody knows how much  is going to be taken -                                                                    
     but at least  establish some kind of a  goal which goes                                                                    
     along with  the active  management for high  yield, for                                                                    
     abundance  of  the  game  animal  -  as  it  says,  the                                                                    
     harvestable surplus, which  is usually considered after                                                                    
     the survivability  of the ...  calf population  of that                                                                    
     particular year.   So it's ... simply  designed to make                                                                    
     that a  goal of  human harvest, rather  than to  try to                                                                    
     dictate what that human harvest is going to be.                                                                            
Number 1577                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   KERTTULA  referred   to  Section   2,  page   2,                                                               
[paragraph] (1), with  regard to the commissioner's  powers.  She                                                               
said, "I'm not  sure if that really changes what  we have at this                                                               
point, but  I was  reading the  language together.   Is  ... your                                                               
goal to  change how  the commissioner is  now allocating  or not,                                                               
with that language?"                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  answered that one  of the primary  duties of                                                               
the Board of Game is to make allocations.  He added:                                                                            
     When I mentioned that before,  there was, in several of                                                                    
     the  duties enumerated  in the  original  bill, one  of                                                                    
     them  was to  manage.   We  feel it's  not the  board's                                                                    
     responsibility to  manage; it's the  commissioner's and                                                                    
     his  staff's responsibility  to manage.   That  doesn't                                                                    
     change  ...  his  responsibility.    It's  the  board's                                                                    
     responsibility  to help  allocate those  resources and,                                                                    
     of   course,  among   other  things,   to  advise   the                                                                    
     [commissioner], as  you see in  the bill, of  the other                                                                    
     duties of the board.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  clarified  that she  was  asking  about                                                               
managing for  abundance for  maximum sustained  yield -  how that                                                               
differs  from  what is  done  now,  and how  Representative  Fate                                                               
envisions that working.                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR MASEK noted that it is on page 2, lines 9-12.                                                                          
Number 1679                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  said  there  are many  different  ways;  he                                                               
mentioned  predator  control  and habitat  enhancement  including                                                               
prescribed burns and "water habitat facilitation."  He added:                                                                   
     It's not  our intent to  dictate how this is  done, but                                                                    
     to simply say  that active management is  what will ...                                                                    
     enhance the population of the  game.  And another thing                                                                    
     in here,  in ...  talking with  the department,  we did                                                                    
     provide  in here  a caveat:   for  example, one  of the                                                                    
     game  animals  on the  Alaska  [Peninsula]  is a  brown                                                                    
     bear;  it's ...  not an  ungulate or  a prey  animal at                                                                    
     all.  And  so, in here we tried to  make room for that,                                                                    
     and for  permit drawings, for example,  and ... special                                                                    
     seasons.  We  made reference to the ...  musk ox, which                                                                    
     is a separate thing.                                                                                                       
     We've  really tried  to  facilitate  everything we  can                                                                    
     think  of.     But  as   far  as  active   and  passive                                                                    
     management, there  is a difference.   Active management                                                                    
     manages  for  ...  an historic  high  game  population,                                                                    
     whatever  that was,  determined by  ... records  of the                                                                    
     Department of  Fish and Game.   And ... the  effort and                                                                    
     the goal  is to manage  for that.   Passive management,                                                                    
     basically,  is "let  nature take  its  course," and  if                                                                    
     there's not a  lot of game out there,  why, that's just                                                                    
     tough  -  don't  do  anything.   ...  So,  there  is  a                                                                    
     difference between active  and passive game management,                                                                    
     and we're advocating the active game management.                                                                           
Number 1786                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER referred  to Representative Fate's mention                                                               
of  a 3-percent  harvest rate  that  is almost  negligible.   She                                                               
offered  her understanding  that it  is the  subsistence harvest,                                                               
rather  than the  overall harvest;  she asked  Gordy Williams  of                                                               
ADF&G to respond.                                                                                                               
Number 1818                                                                                                                     
GORDY WILLIAMS, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Commissioner,                                                                
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, came forward accompanied by                                                                 
Matt Robus, whom he introduced.                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR MASEK asked them to address Section 2, page 2, lines 9-                                                                
Number 1841                                                                                                                     
MATT ROBUS, Deputy Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation,                                                                 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, responded:                                                                                  
     The answer is that there  is probably a different level                                                                    
     of harvest on  every population across the  state.  And                                                                    
     in   some  places   the  total   harvest  on   ungulate                                                                    
     populations  may  be in  the  neighborhood  of 3  to  5                                                                    
     percent,  but  in  other  places it's  as  high  as  10                                                                    
     percent on  moose populations,  for instance,  and then                                                                    
     has a  lot to do with  the capability of the  land, the                                                                    
     situation with  the habitat,  [and] other  factors such                                                                    
     as  weather  and predators  and  human  demands on  the                                                                    
     And just as  an example, when the Board  of Game looked                                                                    
     at intensive-management populations  to develop harvest                                                                    
     and population goals,  they used 10 percent  as kind of                                                                    
     the upper  limit for moose  populations, as  a starting                                                                    
     point  for  developing  some of  those  ...  management                                                                    
     objectives, just  because of all the  different factors                                                                    
     that ungulate  populations have to face  in this state.                                                                    
     So it's  really not  possible to  say 3  percent across                                                                    
     the board  or 5  percent across the  board.   It really                                                                    
     varies,  depending on  what species  and what  location                                                                    
     you're talking about.                                                                                                      
Number 1914                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked, "How do we currently evaluate how                                                                 
the commissioner and the department [are] doing, and how would                                                                  
this new system, if implemented, be measured?"                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE FATE answered:                                                                                                   
     First, ... in this  state legislature, there's missions                                                                    
     and measures.   This is one way we  have, certainly, of                                                                    
     evaluating  at  least  the efficiency  as  far  as  the                                                                    
     dollars go.   But I  think the other way  of evaluating                                                                    
     ... the efficiency and the  management itself is ... by                                                                    
     the  public itself.   In  those units  where there's  a                                                                    
     paucity  of  game  animals of  the  kind  that  they're                                                                    
     trying  to take  --  and we've  already  seen that  the                                                                    
     board  will advise  one method  of alleviating  ... the                                                                    
     scarcity  of those  animals, and  sometimes that's  not                                                                    
     followed.  So  ... what we're really trying  to do here                                                                    
     is  literally put  in  law  what's basically  (indisc.)                                                                    
     already in  law, and certainly is  in the constitution.                                                                    
     The  measurement, as  I've said,  of those  things will                                                                    
     come both from the statutes and from the public.                                                                           
MR. ROBUS responded:                                                                                                            
     The  performance  measures   that  Representative  Fate                                                                    
     mentioned  certainly are  measures,  and  we worked  up                                                                    
     performance  measures that  have  to do  with how  many                                                                    
     permits the department issues  ... for big-game hunting                                                                    
     a  year; how  many surveys  we  fly, in  order to  show                                                                    
     whether  or not  we're  getting  ... adequate  coverage                                                                    
     with   our  inventory   operations;  visitors   to  our                                                                    
     refuges; and that type of thing.                                                                                           
     However, another method  of feedback that we  get is at                                                                    
     the Board of  Game meetings and telephone  calls to our                                                                    
     offices.    It  becomes  pretty clear  when  we're  not                                                                    
     achieving  what the  public generally  conceives of  as                                                                    
     the  proper way  to manage  populations.   And I  don't                                                                    
     know if  you've ever  been to a  Board of  Game meeting                                                                    
     recently, but  there's spirited discussion  there about                                                                    
     the  method,  ...  our   approach  to  management,  our                                                                    
     success  or lack  of success  in getting  to where  the                                                                    
     public  feels  we ought  to  be.    And then  the  most                                                                    
     tangible result  is, we get  proposals from  the public                                                                    
     at every Board of Game  meeting that are the avenue for                                                                    
     people to change  the way that we manage  wildlife.  If                                                                    
     it  makes good  sense and  seems  to be  in the  public                                                                    
     interest, then the  Board of Game can  adopt those, and                                                                    
     off we  go in  a new management  direction.   So that's                                                                    
     the type of feedback we get in terms of the success.                                                                       
Number 2078                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA noted that the constitution requires                                                                    
management for sustained yield, rather than maximum sustained                                                                   
yield.  She asked whether there are any cases or analyses that                                                                  
talk about abundance for maximum sustained yield.                                                                               
MR. ROBUS answered:                                                                                                             
     We believe that  there is a difference.   The sustained                                                                    
     yield   principle,   as   generally   stated   in   the                                                                    
     constitution, gives us  a lot of flexibility  in how we                                                                    
     manage the balance between  different types of animals.                                                                    
     And, in  fact, this  is kind  of testifying  before our                                                                    
     testimony, but one of the  problems we see ... with the                                                                    
     bill is  that it calls  for maximum sustained  yield of                                                                    
     all wildlife.   And we're finding out that  if you want                                                                    
     to  maximize an  ungulate  population  in a  particular                                                                    
     place,  ... we're  not going  for  a maximum  sustained                                                                    
     yield  of predator  populations.   In  order to  manage                                                                    
     your way  through that, you'd probably  want to depress                                                                    
     predator populations  in some  cases.   So the  lack of                                                                    
     flexibility  in  the  language  of  this  bill,  as  it                                                                    
     stands, is of great concern.                                                                                               
     And the other thing is  the liability of managing right                                                                    
     at the  knife's edge of MSY  [maximum sustained yield].                                                                    
     As I've  said before,  there's a  lot of  very serious,                                                                    
     uncontrollable  factors  such  as winter  snow  levels,                                                                    
     habitat conditions, things that  are very difficult ...                                                                    
     to measure.  And if we  push too far and think we're at                                                                    
     MSY and  try to  hold the  population there,  and we're                                                                    
     wrong  or  we   have  bad  luck  in   terms  of  winter                                                                    
     conditions  or  so  forth,  we   could  be  plunging  a                                                                    
     population into  a situation  that's very  difficult to                                                                    
     recover  from.   So a  general, flexible,  sustainable-                                                                    
     yield approach is preferable to us.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE FATE responded:                                                                                                  
     Under the present situation,  the determination of what                                                                    
     is sustained  yield sometimes  is at  the lower  end of                                                                    
     what the people need out there.   If you describe it as                                                                    
     "maximum   sustained  yield,"   you  are   telling  the                                                                    
     Department of Fish  and Game that you  want the maximum                                                                    
     number  ... of  animals  that habitat  will carry,  and                                                                    
     that  has an  historic ...  number of  animals to  back                                                                    
     that up;  it's not  just something you're  grabbing out                                                                    
     of  the sky.   But  if you  just simply  say "sustained                                                                    
     yield,"  you could  have five  animals  out there,  and                                                                    
      that will sustain it.  So you're ... not describing                                                                       
     any boundaries, any parameters.  And it hasn't worked.                                                                     
Number 2259                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI  remarked that it  has always been a  good debate                                                               
with  regard to  sustained  yield, maximum  sustained yield,  and                                                               
optimum sustained  yield.  He  said, "Optimum sustained  yield is                                                               
essentially   subjective  sustained   yield   management,  if   I                                                               
understand  it  right."     He  offered  his   opinion  that  the                                                               
constitution says "sustained yield to  the maximum benefit of all                                                               
users."    He   also  offered  his  opinion  that   it  isn't  as                                                               
problematic as the department believes it to be.                                                                                
Number 2318                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER voiced  concern about  trying to  balance                                                               
the ungulates  versus the predators,  because there is  a natural                                                               
cycle that  has fluctuations.   After a  cycle when  the ungulate                                                               
population  is  depressed  and   there  are  more  predators,  it                                                               
balances  over  time because  the  predators  won't have  a  food                                                               
source,  for  example.   She  expressed  concern about  a  public                                                               
outcry during  a natural  cycle, and the  pointing of  fingers at                                                               
the managers for what is actually a natural phenomenon.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE recalled  anecdotes from  his wife's  family                                                               
about  long-lasting  cycles  of  over  40  years,  and  therefore                                                               
questioned the idea of natural cycles that balance over time.                                                                   
Number 2419                                                                                                                     
MR. WILLIAMS informed  the committee that ADF&G  has some serious                                                               
concerns  about provisions  in the  bill  and potential  effects.                                                               
For example,  some ambiguity might  lead to  increased litigation                                                               
and  confusion in  fish and  game  management.   Noting that  Mr.                                                               
Robus would  speak about the  game biology, Mr.  Williams pointed                                                               
out that  the bill speaks  to fish and game  in some places.   He                                                               
informed members that Kevin Saxby  from the Department of Law was                                                               
supposed  to  be  online,  but   was  also  involved  in  another                                                               
committee hearing and might not be available.                                                                                   
MR. WILLIAMS  expressed appreciation  for the  sponsor's comments                                                               
on the [removal  of] "enforcement agents" in Section  1, which he                                                               
indicated  had  been a  concern  of  the department  because  the                                                               
legislative intent wasn't clear as  to why that language had been                                                               
removed.  He explained:                                                                                                         
     We think that  it's very important that  ... there's an                                                                    
     enforcement  presence in  the field,  by the  number of                                                                    
     biologists  and people  that we  have  out, because  we                                                                    
     have  a  fairly  small  number  of  fish  and  wildlife                                                                    
     protection  officers   that  are   employed.     So  we                                                                    
     appreciate the  intent that it's ...  a clarification -                                                                    
     it's not to  affect the current situation.   All of our                                                                    
     enforcement agents go through training....                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE FATE responded:                                                                                                  
     To even  further clarify,  it says  an employee  of the                                                                    
     department authorized  by the commissioner that  can be                                                                    
     deputized  -  a  police  officer  of  the  state,  they                                                                    
     already have that  - or any other  person authorized by                                                                    
     the  commissioner.   So the  commissioner can  deputize                                                                    
     just about whoever he sees  fit within that department,                                                                    
     as  well  ...  as   enforcement  officers  through  the                                                                    
     Department of Safety.                                                                                                      
Number 2532                                                                                                                     
MR.  WILLIAMS referred  to Section  1, page  2, lines  1-2, which                                                               
read,  "(B)  to  achieve  an   abundance  of  fish  and  wildlife                                                           
resources sufficient  to provide  the maximum sustained  yield of                                                           
those resources;".   He  told members  it would  be added  to the                                                           
commissioner's  duties, but  pointed out  that it  speaks to  all                                                               
fish and  wildlife resources and  would include  predators, prey,                                                               
resident fish,  and anadromous  fish, for  example, and  would be                                                               
virtually impossible  to manage.   There are conflicts,  he said,                                                               
and some of those resources aren't used much by humans.                                                                         
MR.  WILLIAMS   turned  attention  to  Section   2,  noting  that                                                               
paragraph  (1)  [page  2,  beginning  on  line  9]  removes  some                                                               
language about assisting the [U.S.]  Fish and Wildlife Service in                                                               
the enforcement  of federal  laws and regulations.   He  said the                                                               
constitution  provides for  a level  of  cooperation between  the                                                               
state and federal governments.  He explained:                                                                                   
     Practically, again, this may not  have a lot of effect,                                                                    
     but we'd be  interested, again, to make  sure that it's                                                                    
     not the  legislative intent  that we  can't participate                                                                    
     with  the federal  government on  waterfowl management,                                                                    
     the Lacey  Act --  there's various  federal regulations                                                                    
     that  we're involved  with, and  things  that we  don't                                                                    
     manage  on the  state level.   And  we think  it's very                                                                    
     important that  the state  is able  to assist  with ...                                                                    
     that type of management.                                                                                                   
Number 2628                                                                                                                     
MR. WILLIAMS requested clarification  about page 3, paragraph (7)                                                               
[Section  2],  which relates  to  public  facilities and  removes                                                               
language  with regard  to entering  into cooperative  agreements.                                                               
He pointed  out that the  department does enter  into cooperative                                                               
agreements on  things such as  boat-launch ramps,  for management                                                               
with  the  Department  of  Natural Resources.    He  advised  the                                                               
committee, "We  would not want  to have  that ability to  do that                                                               
removed.  And we don't think  that's the intent of the bill, but,                                                               
again, ... we're not sure."                                                                                                     
MR.  WILLIAMS  turned  attention  to paragraph  (9)  [Section  2,                                                               
page 3] and informed members:                                                                                                   
     The Department  of Law has  told us this is  a problem.                                                                    
     It puts  the boards of fish  and game, or the  Board of                                                                    
     Game,  into  the  fiscal  matters  of  the  department.                                                                    
     Currently, ...  the boards  of fish  and game  are both                                                                    
     prohibited  from being  involved in  fiscal matters  of                                                                    
     the department.   And by  this paragraph  assigning the                                                                    
     highest  priority to  plans, programs,  and regulations                                                                    
     adopted by the board, it's  kind of a de facto entrance                                                                    
     into our ... fiscal management  of the department.  And                                                                    
     that's seen as a potential legal problem.                                                                                  
MR. WILLIAMS  referred to  Section 3,  page 5,  which adds  a new                                                               
subsection  saying  that  before   entering  into  a  cooperative                                                               
arrangement with any entity for  the management of fish and game,                                                               
[the  department] must  provide  public notice  and a  reasonable                                                               
opportunity [to comment], and must  inform the presiding officers                                                               
[of  each  house  of  the  legislature].   He  pointed  out  that                                                               
"cooperative  arrangement"  isn't  defined,  and  cautioned  that                                                               
without  that,   it  would   have  to   be  read   very  broadly.                                                               
Highlighting   ADF&G's  indeterminate   fiscal   note  for   this                                                               
legislation, he explained:                                                                                                      
     We enter into contracts.   We enter into agreements ...                                                                    
     to  receive  federal funds  in  a  lot  of areas.    We                                                                    
     contract with an  airline service to do  game surveys -                                                                    
     all those  kind of things.   And ... the  Department of                                                                    
     Law says  those would all be  cooperative arrangements.                                                                    
     If  we had  to publicly  notice each  and every  one of                                                                    
     those and  take out  ads in newspapers  and everything,                                                                    
     we could see a relatively  enormous fiscal note.  So we                                                                    
     don't exactly  know what, again,  the intent  is there,                                                                    
     ... but  if we had to  comply with this as  written, we                                                                    
     would have a very extensive fiscal note.                                                                                   
Number 2755                                                                                                                     
MR. WILLIAMS turned  attention to Section 5, page  5, and pointed                                                               
out  that  it  begins,  "The  Board  of  Game,  as  it  considers                                                           
necessary  to allocate,  protect, maintain,  improve, and  extend                                                           
the game resources of the  state to achieve abundance for maximum                                                           
sustained  yield  of  game  and for  other  purposes,  may  adopt                                                           
regulations  [IT  CONSIDERS  ADVISABLE]...."    Noting  that  the                                                               
phrase "it  considers advisable"  is in  the current  statute, he                                                               
explained  that  the department  doesn't  believe  it is  a  good                                                               
change to put the word "necessary" in there.  He explained:                                                                     
     The  Board of  Game makes  a lot  of decisions  on what                                                                    
     they  feel   is  advisable  for  good   fish  and  game                                                                    
     allocation in the state, whether  it's restriction on a                                                                    
     particular type of  weapon that can be used  in an area                                                                    
     or  a certain  area next  to  a highway  that might  be                                                                    
     closed for one type  of (indisc.--coughing) or another.                                                                    
     Those may  not be  necessary to allocate,  protect, and                                                                    
     maintain,  but  they  are ...  certainly  advisable  on                                                                    
     things  that  they're  reacting to  the  public  or  to                                                                    
     agency input on.                                                                                                           
     Again, the  Department of Law feels  that they're often                                                                    
     defending cases every year  about the word "necessary,"                                                                    
     where  people go  into court  and say,  ... "It  wasn't                                                                    
     necessary that  they had that regulation."   And that's                                                                    
     not a  standard that  we have to  meet to  defend those                                                                    
     cases.    It's a  regulation  that  was passed  by  the                                                                    
     board, that they  felt was in the best  interest of the                                                                    
     state.  And we wouldn't like to see that jeopardized.                                                                      
MR.  WILLIAMS addressed  Section 6,  [beginning on]  page 6.   He                                                               
informed  members, "Our  reading  of this  is, current  intensive                                                               
game  management  is not  restricted  to  areas where  there's  a                                                               
drawing permit."   He  explained that  usually the  drawing hunts                                                               
and permits are in areas  where the game population is relatively                                                               
healthy but the carrying capacity of  the habitat and the size of                                                               
the  resource  aren't  enough  to  meet  all  the  demands.    He                                                               
cautioned, "Restricting it to only  areas where there's a drawing                                                               
permit  would  be  a  significant   restriction  on  the  current                                                               
intensive game management laws that are on the books now."                                                                      
Number 2858                                                                                                                     
MR. WILLIAMS turned attention to  Section 7 [page 7], noting that                                                               
he   would  ask   Mr.  Robus   to  correct   him  if   necessary.                                                               
Mr. Williams noted that  Section 7 removes the  language, "or has                                                               
scheduled for  adoption at the  next regularly  scheduled meeting                                                               
of the  board regulations", which  is part of the  intensive game                                                               
management laws.   If a view  is brought to the  board, the board                                                               
can make some  decisions at a meeting with regard  to the harvest                                                               
of that resource, although it  wouldn't have a proposal before it                                                               
and  wouldn't  have  given  the  public time  to  work  with  the                                                               
department  and   board  to  craft  a   balanced  intensive  game                                                               
management program.  Mr. Williams remarked:                                                                                     
     Again,  these  are  complicated,  [on  a]  case-by-case                                                                    
     basis,  often   with  wolves  and  bears   and  habitat                                                                    
     carrying capacity;  indeed, this  is the kind  of thing                                                                    
     that needs  study.   So that's why  I believe  this was                                                                    
     put on the  books, is that it's not possible,  at a lot                                                                    
     of these  meetings, for the  board to have the  type of                                                                    
     proposal in front of them  that the public knows about,                                                                    
     and  to  adopt that.    So  they  could take  some  ...                                                                    
     management actions  to keep  the population  from being                                                                    
     ... further  depressed, but without having  adopted ...                                                                    
     a  formal intensive  game management  program.   So  if                                                                    
     this  was to  go forward  this way,  I think  there's a                                                                    
     danger  that  the  harvest   of  the  population  would                                                                    
     continue  at  a  rate  that   further  drives  ...  the                                                                    
     population down to a very low level.                                                                                       
MR.  WILLIAMS  turned attention  to  Section  8, noting  that  it                                                               
speaks to historic  high population levels, which  in Alaska were                                                               
reached during the  end of territorial days  and early statehood,                                                               
"when there  was widespread  poisoning, widespread  aerial taking                                                               
of animals."  He said it  isn't a sustainable population for many                                                               
of these  resources or, to  his belief, a  politically acceptable                                                               
method of fish and game management in the current times.                                                                        
Number 2956                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI pondered whether Section  8 could work in reverse                                                               
with regard to maximum sustained  yield, resulting in never being                                                               
able to achieve those high levels.   He said historic high levels                                                               
are  often  artificial,  and achieving  maximum  sustained  yield                                                               
would be difficult in certain [circumstances].                                                                                  
TAPE 02-26, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 2980                                                                                                                     
MR. WILLIAMS reiterated an earlier point that the bill applies                                                                  
to both fish and game in several instances.                                                                                     
MR. ROBUS emphasized some points discussed by Mr. Williams.  He                                                                 
referred to Section 6 and said:                                                                                                 
     Under   the   present  intensive-management   law   and                                                                    
     regulations, the Board of  Game has identified ungulate                                                                    
     populations  around the  state that  qualify as  being,                                                                    
     quote, "important for high  levels of human consumptive                                                                    
     use," unquote.   Anytime the  biological analysis  of a                                                                    
     situation leads  the board to determine  that intensive                                                                    
     management  is needed  for  one  of those  populations,                                                                    
     they can and have  gone ahead and implemented intensive                                                                    
     management for those populations.                                                                                          
     And the rewording proposed in  the bill here would take                                                                    
     that away from most of  the areas where that's happened                                                                    
     and limit  it only  to areas  for populations  where we                                                                    
     have  drawing  hunts.     And  I  can't   think  of  an                                                                    
     intensive-management situation where  we have a drawing                                                                    
     hunt,  because  by  the  time   you  get  to  intensive                                                                    
     management,  you're down  into  a limited  registration                                                                    
     permit or  a Tier I or  a Tier II permit, usually.   So                                                                    
     this section  ... would radically alter  the intensive-                                                                    
     management  program  and  limit   it  to  the  type  of                                                                    
     populations  where intensive  management really  is not                                                                    
     called for or appropriate.                                                                                                 
Number 2915                                                                                                                     
MR. ROBUS turned attention to Section 7 and said:                                                                               
     The procedure  that the Board  of Game goes  through at                                                                    
     their  meetings  is  that  for  each  area,  they  hear                                                                    
     proposals  for ungulate  populations  first; then  they                                                                    
     hear   proposals  for   predator   populations.     And                                                                    
     sometimes it  works out that  they decide that  we need                                                                    
     to  restrict  harvest  on   a  moose  population,  say,                                                                    
     because  it's  not  doing  very   well,  and,  by  good                                                                    
     fortune, there may  be a predator proposal  later on in                                                                    
     that  same meeting  where they  can actually  take some                                                                    
     intensive-management  action   and  begin   curing  the                                                                    
     problem right there.                                                                                                       
     But it's  much more common  not to have  an appropriate                                                                    
     ... predator-related proposal at  that meeting.  And so                                                                    
     the way this law would be  worded is that ... the board                                                                    
     would be  prevented from  taking restrictive  action to                                                                    
     protect the population that's  in trouble, because they                                                                    
     didn't  have an  appropriate  proposal  before them  at                                                                    
     that  meeting and  they would  not be  given the  slack                                                                    
     that's in the  present law, which allows  a proposal to                                                                    
     be circulated before the public,  come back at the next                                                                    
     regularly  scheduled  meeting,   and  the  board  takes                                                                    
     action at that point  to start, usually, increasing the                                                                    
     take of the predator.                                                                                                      
     The  only  way we  would  have  to protect  that  moose                                                                    
     population under  this wording would  be to draw  up an                                                                    
     emergency order on it midway  through a season, when we                                                                    
     figure that enough is enough  in terms of harvest.  And                                                                    
     we think  it's much  preferable to retain  the existing                                                                    
     language that  lets the  board take  action as  soon as                                                                    
     possible  under  their  public-notice  procedures,  but                                                                    
     allow them  to take  restrictive action if  they really                                                                    
     think it  needs to  be done, because  ... that  type of                                                                    
     decision  involves   the  public  much  more   than  an                                                                    
     emergency order  that an area  biologist or  a director                                                                    
     puts  into effect  as an  emergency way  ... to  keep a                                                                    
     herd from  being ...  overharvested.   So we  ... don't                                                                    
     feel that  this is, ...  procedurally, a very  good way                                                                    
     to proceed.                                                                                                                
Number 2801                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI asked about emergency  orders (EOs) for closures,                                                               
and whether  Mr. Robus  was testifying that  EOs aren't  the best                                                               
method  to use  for  shutting  down an  opening  when a  critical                                                               
problem is discovered.                                                                                                          
MR. ROBUS replied:                                                                                                              
     Emergency orders  are certainly a valid  and useful way                                                                    
     for  our department  to  ... modify  or  close off  the                                                                    
     taking of  a population  when we discover  that there's                                                                    
     ... no more animals that  can be taken ... with safety.                                                                    
     What I  was trying  to say  here ...  is that  when the                                                                    
     Board of  Game is hearing the  biological evidence from                                                                    
     the  department,  listening  to public  testimony,  and                                                                    
     deciding that harvest regulations  need to be modified,                                                                    
     that's going on with a whole  lot of public input.  And                                                                    
     the ... implementation  of the intensive-management law                                                                    
     deserves  that amount  of  public input.    And if  the                                                                    
     board,  at   that  point,  feels  there   needs  to  be                                                                    
     restriction, they  should be allowed ...  to modify the                                                                    
     regulations for that ... population  right then if they                                                                    
     need  to,  and  then pass  the  appropriate  intensive-                                                                    
     management   regulation   as   soon   as   procedurally                                                                    
     possible,  either  at  that  meeting  or  at  the  next                                                                    
     I didn't mean to say that  EOs were not a valid way ...                                                                    
     of protecting a herd.  But  in the case where the Board                                                                    
     of  Game can  make a  determination that  a restriction                                                                    
     needs  to  happen,  it would  be  more  appropriate,  I                                                                    
     think,  to do  it through  that process  and leave  the                                                                    
     emergency  orders  for  situations where  ...  we  find                                                                    
     through surveys  or through harvest reporting  ... that                                                                    
     we cannot  afford to take  any more animals in  a given                                                                    
Number 2700                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI  said he'd wanted  to get on record  that [ADF&G]                                                               
still supports that methodology  of management, rather than going                                                               
back to "federal-type management."                                                                                              
MR.  ROBUS  affirmed that,  adding  that  Mr. Williams  had  just                                                               
reminded him of another difference.   He explained, "The Board of                                                               
Game  can tweak  those  seasons  in any  way  that  they feel  is                                                               
appropriate.   An emergency order  basically is a  'light switch'                                                               
that we have to turn the season off  at a given point.  So it's a                                                               
less flexible way of managing a population."                                                                                    
Number 2654                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI  read from the state  constitution, Article VIII,                                                               
Section 2, which  talks about the maximum benefit  of the people.                                                               
He offered  his view that  the bill  tries to merge  that concept                                                               
with  the sustained  yield principle  [Article VIII,  Section 4].                                                               
He asked  Mr. Robus  for his  interpretation of  the department's                                                               
stand on "maximum benefit versus maximum sustained yield."                                                                      
MR. ROBUS replied:                                                                                                              
     Not  being a  fisheries  biologist, I  don't have  much                                                                    
     personal  experience with  the term  "maximum sustained                                                                    
     yield," because  that's not the  way the  department is                                                                    
     managed on  the game side  of things.  So  I'm probably                                                                    
     not  all that  well qualified  to answer  your question                                                                    
     ... in detail.                                                                                                             
     My feeling, from sitting at  Board of Game meetings and                                                                    
     being in the  department for a fair amount  of time, is                                                                    
     that we're  always straining at  trying to  achieve the                                                                    
     maximum  benefit to  the people  by  adjusting the  way                                                                    
     populations ... are managed and  harvested.  There's no                                                                    
     doubt that  we've got  difficulties. ...  Our resources                                                                    
     are limited.   The state's huge.   The productivity per                                                                    
     acre  in  this state  is  low  compared to  ...  almost                                                                    
     everywhere  else  on the  continent,  or  at least  the                                                                    
     Lower 48.   There are  some really tough  challenges in                                                                    
     providing  the maximum  benefit, but  that's where  the                                                                    
     Board  of Game  and  the department  are always  aiming                                                                    
     This is getting  a little away from  your question, but                                                                    
     I'll  point out  that  we have  population and  harvest                                                                    
     objectives  established for  every ungulate  population                                                                    
     in  the  state -  or  every  deer, caribou,  and  moose                                                                    
     population in  the state  - that has  been found  to be                                                                    
     important  for high  levels of  human consumptive  use.                                                                    
     So we already have targets to  aim at, and the Board of                                                                    
     Game is  already working really  hard to  produce those                                                                    
     population levels  and the harvest levels  that go with                                                                    
     that, to  the extent possible.   So maximum  benefit is                                                                    
     always going  to be  a goal  out there  in front  of us                                                                    
     somewhere,  but I  think that's  definitely where  both                                                                    
     the board and the department aim their efforts.                                                                            
Number 2524                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCALZI asked, fisheries aside, whether Mr. Robus                                                                       
believes maximum sustained yield is or isn't consistent with                                                                    
maximum benefit.                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS  replied that he  thinks this language takes  away some                                                               
flexibility and places difficult,  arbitrary standards.  He added                                                               
his  belief  that  "the  maximum benefit  to  the  people"  isn't                                                               
consistent with the language in this bill.                                                                                      
Number 2484                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  responded  to  points  made  by  the  ADF&G                                                               
representatives.  First,  he said, "I don't think  that we should                                                               
mandate the State of Alaska,  through the commissioner, to assist                                                               
the  federal  government in  enforcing  federal  laws on  federal                                                               
land."  He  also offered his belief that [the  bill] doesn't take                                                               
away the  ability of the  commissioner to make  arrangements with                                                               
other   entities  and   organization,   and   that  it   provides                                                               
clarification  in  this  regard,   whereas  he  believes  it  was                                                               
arbitrary previously.   Speaking  of the commissioner,  he added,                                                               
"That  ability is  still in  place for  him to  make arrangements                                                               
with any other entity that he so - really, basically - desires."                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE returned  attention  to Section  5, page  5,                                                               
subsection (a), line 27, and said:                                                                                              
     When  the Board  of  Game needs  a  solution that  they                                                                    
     think  is   necessary,  they  should   articulate  that                                                                    
     immediacy  to the  commissioner, and  ... if  they feel                                                                    
     that's necessary, then they  should articulate that; if                                                                    
     it's "advisable",  then that  could be  misconstrued by                                                                    
     the  commissioner.   And they  may not  take action  if                                                                    
     it's only  advisable.  It doesn't  disallow, certainly,                                                                    
     the board  being advisors, because that,  by nature, is                                                                    
     what it is.                                                                                                                
Number 2354                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  referred to page  6, [beginning at]  line 28                                                               
[with  regard to  drawing  permits].   He  suggested perhaps  the                                                               
wording isn't quite what was meant, and said:                                                                                   
     If you  look at that,  I think  it was stated  that you                                                                    
     wouldn't have  intensive [management] where you  have a                                                                    
     drawing  anyway,  because if  you  have  a drawing,  it                                                                    
     implies that there's plenty of  game animals there, and                                                                    
     so why is  there a need for intensive  management?  But                                                                    
     that's not really what it  says here. ... What it says,                                                                    
     basically, is  if there is  a ... necessity  because of                                                                    
     the scarcity  of game  animals, but  where there  is an                                                                    
     area  where  [a] drawing  has  taken  place, I  suppose                                                                    
     there's  two things  that could  happen.   By emergency                                                                    
     order,  you could  just simply  stop it.   But  this is                                                                    
     saying that in  those areas, ... then  you should adopt                                                                    
     intensive management to build  up the population, which                                                                    
     is the effort.   And that precludes the  musk ox, which                                                                    
     come  under a  different set  of regulations.   So  ...                                                                    
     it's really aimed at helping  ... the Board of Game and                                                                    
     the commissioner, where there  [have] been drawings and                                                                    
     ... where there is now  a scarcity of that game animal,                                                                    
     to  institute the  intensive-management  program.   And                                                                    
     that's the meaning of that.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  offered  to   clear  up  that  language  if                                                               
necessary.   Turning attention to  page 7, beginning at  line 11,                                                               
he conveyed  his belief that  it is "generally needed  because it                                                               
does  clarify  rather  than  make arbitrary  the  taking  of  the                                                               
identified population species."                                                                                                 
Number 2175                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE called these  management goals for the taking                                                               
of  animals,  rather  than dictating  "that  these  will  happen,                                                               
because  we  know  that  often  they  won't."    He  offered  his                                                               
understanding from  ADF&G records  that "they can  establish high                                                               
population records under different  habitat scenarios."  He said,                                                               
"It's up to  them to do that; we're not  dictating what that high                                                               
population is  going to be, but  you can do that,  and that's all                                                               
that  we're  attempting  here."    Noting  that  Section  8  says                                                               
"consistent  with these  high  population  levels", he  remarked,                                                               
"These  are goals,  but consistent  with the  present-day maximum                                                               
carrying capacity; we're not going  to hang the amount of animals                                                               
that we're trying  to establish as a goal on  [an] historic high,                                                               
but  we will  marry that  historic high  to the  capacity of  the                                                               
habitat of the present time to carry those animals."                                                                            
[Co-Chair  Masek called  upon Kevin  Saxby of  the Department  of                                                               
Law, but was informed via  teleconference by Captain [Al] Cain of                                                               
the  Department of  Public Safety  that Mr.  Saxby was  attending                                                               
another meeting; Captain Cain offered to answer questions.]                                                                     
Number 2030                                                                                                                     
VIC VAN  BALLENBERGHE testified  via teleconference,  noting that                                                               
he  has  about  35  years   of  professional  wildlife  biologist                                                               
experience,  28 of  those in  Alaska.   Cautioning that  the bill                                                               
might  work  counter to  the  goal  of having  abundant  wildlife                                                               
populations, he said:                                                                                                           
     I think there are numerous  problems with the bill, one                                                                    
     of which  occurs at  the bottom of  page 7,  Section 8,                                                                    
     the  part   that  refers  to  historic   high  wildlife                                                                    
     population  goals  that   the  board  would  establish.                                                                    
     There are  biological problems  with that  concept, ...                                                                    
     one  fact being  that  these historic  highs in  Alaska                                                                    
     were often reached  in the 1960s following  more than a                                                                    
     decade of  poisoning and shooting  of predators  by the                                                                    
     federal  government.    That resulted  in  the  virtual                                                                    
     elimination of predators, not  only wolves, but drastic                                                                    
     reductions in bear  populations, wolverines, carnivores                                                                    
     - all the things that ate that poison.                                                                                     
     I  think, as  a society,  the state  of Alaska  decided                                                                    
     when  that poisoning  program was  over that  we really                                                                    
     didn't want to go down that  road again.  In fact, this                                                                    
     state has  never used poison  to reduce predators  as a                                                                    
     matter of policy since statehood.   And in order to get                                                                    
     back  to those  historic highs  -  in order  to try  to                                                                    
     reestablish them - it would  virtually require the same                                                                    
     kind  of predator-control  effort that  occurred during                                                                    
     the federal program.                                                                                                       
     Secondly, these  highs resulted in habitat  damage, and                                                                    
     they obviously were not sustainable.   Even if we could                                                                    
     return to  those high population  levels, they  are not                                                                    
     sustainable - they  weren't sustainable originally, and                                                                    
     they're not sustainable now.                                                                                               
     Thirdly,  habitat  conditions  since those  highs  have                                                                    
     changed over time,  and we can no  longer support those                                                                    
     past highs  in many,  many areas, due  in part  to fire                                                                    
     suppression, which has resulted  in much lower carrying                                                                    
     capacities  than we  had  during the  1960s.   I'm  not                                                                    
     aware  of a  single competent  wildlife biologist  that                                                                    
     would advise the legislature or  the Department of Fish                                                                    
     and Game  to try  to manage  for historic  high levels.                                                                    
     And, in  fact, establishing  those levels, even  ... if                                                                    
     we could  get there, would  run counter to  the concept                                                                    
     of trying to provide  maximum sustained yields, because                                                                    
     those yields  do not occur  at high levels;  they occur                                                                    
     at intermediate levels ... of wildlife populations.                                                                        
     There  are several  good, real-world  examples that  we                                                                    
     have good data on,  including the Nelchina caribou herd                                                                    
     and the  moose population on the  Kenai Peninsula, that                                                                    
     if we  had more time, I  would like to tell  you about,                                                                    
     and perhaps we could do that later.                                                                                        
Number 1840                                                                                                                     
MR. VAN BALLENBERGHE turned attention to Section 1, subparagraph                                                                
(B) [page 2], with regard to the concept of trying to get the                                                                   
commissioner to manage at maximum sustained yield.  He said:                                                                    
     Again, I'm  not aware  of a  single wildlife  agency in                                                                    
     Canada  or the  rest of  the United  States that,  as a                                                                    
     matter  of  statute  or regulation  or  public  policy,                                                                    
     tries  to  manage  deliberately for  maximum  sustained                                                                    
     yield.  And  the reasons for that are  good, and you've                                                                    
     heard some of them today.   I think Mr. Robus mentioned                                                                    
     that  there's really  no margin  for error  when you're                                                                    
     trying to manage for maximum  sustained yield.  You can                                                                    
     rapidly get into problems where  populations crash as a                                                                    
     result  of trying  to  do that,  from  ... weather  and                                                                    
     other factors.  There is no margin for error.                                                                              
     I  think  the Alaska  State  Constitution  and all  the                                                                    
     existing   statutes   to    date   scrupulously   avoid                                                                    
     establishing  maximum sustained  yield as  a management                                                                    
     goal,  because the  recognition of  these problems  has                                                                    
     been around  for years  and years.   And, in  fact, I'm                                                                    
     not a  fisheries biologist, but  I understand  that two                                                                    
     decades ago fisheries  biologists decided that managing                                                                    
     for maximum sustained yield was too risky.                                                                                 
     I  think  the  costs  are too  high  to  determine  the                                                                    
     biological parameters  necessary to manage  for maximum                                                                    
     sustained yield.   And  for that  and other  reasons, I                                                                    
     believe that  incorporating that ... in  legislation is                                                                    
     an unwise decision.                                                                                                        
Number 1735                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE asked Mr. Van Ballenberghe what his                                                                         
definition is of maximum sustained yield.                                                                                       
MR. VAN BALLENBERGHE responded:                                                                                                 
     I  think therein  lies the  problem,  listening to  the                                                                    
     discussion  as it's  gone on  today so  far.   The term                                                                    
     "maximum   sustained  yield"   has   a  very   specific                                                                    
     definition to  biologists, and  that definition  is not                                                                    
     the definition that's found in  this bill. ... The best                                                                    
     way to do this maybe is  through an example.  Let's say                                                                    
     that  we have  a ...  moose population,  and let's  say                                                                    
     that moose  population contains 1,000  individual moose                                                                    
     at  carrying capacity,  okay?   And carrying  capacity,                                                                    
     again, has a specific  definition, and that's the point                                                                    
     ...  where there  is no  room  for human  harvest:   at                                                                    
     carrying  capacity, a  moose  population produces  just                                                                    
     enough calves  to replace the  adults that die,  and if                                                                    
     you  have  a   human  harvest  on  top   of  that,  the                                                                    
     population declines.                                                                                                       
     So  ...  let's  assume  that  there's  1,000  moose  at                                                                    
     carrying  capacity in  this population.   The  point of                                                                    
     maximum sustained yield for moose  and caribou and deer                                                                    
     and  other ungulates  is right  about half  - a  little                                                                    
     more  than half,  but let's  say about  half -  of that                                                                    
     maximum  carrying-capacity  level;  in  this  case,  it                                                                    
     would be  500 animals.   And that's the point  at which                                                                    
     the  maximum  number  of   animals  are  available  for                                                                    
     harvest  for   that  population.     The   animals  are                                                                    
     reproducing at  a maximum rate, and  the maximum number                                                                    
     are  available for  yield from  that population.   And,                                                                    
     again, this  has a  very precise  biological definition                                                                    
     that  biologists  ...  would  all agree  on,  and  that                                                                    
     varies   from  ...   the  more   generic  or   layman's                                                                    
     And ... in response to  one other point that was raised                                                                    
     earlier,  this is  certainly  much  different from  the                                                                    
     concept of maximum benefit [in the constitution].                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE FATE asked:                                                                                                      
     Then you would agree, it  sounds like, that the highest                                                                    
     number of  a population that  can be removed  for human                                                                    
     use without reducing its ability  to propagate would be                                                                    
     -- is that your --  'cause that's basically what you've                                                                    
     said.   In other  words, if ...  the highest  number of                                                                    
     population that  can propagate isn't enough  to sustain                                                                    
     human harvest, it's still  the maximum sustained yield,                                                                    
MR. VAN BALLENBERGHE replied:                                                                                                   
     No, Representative.   There is  only one point  for any                                                                    
     given  population in  any one  confined area.   There's                                                                    
     only   one  point,   one  density   of  animals,   that                                                                    
     represents the maximum  sustained yield.  And  ... as I                                                                    
     tried to  illustrate, if ... the  carrying capacity is,                                                                    
     say, 1,000 animals,  that maximum-sustained-yield point                                                                    
     occurs pretty  close to 500,  and that's ...  where the                                                                    
     animals  are  low  enough  density  where  they've  got                                                                    
     enough food  to reproduce  at maximum rates  to produce                                                                    
     the  maximum  number  of young  animals  available  for                                                                    
     harvest.   And that's  why there  is virtually  no room                                                                    
     for error.   If you  ... harvest just a  small fraction                                                                    
     more than  that number, you  put the population  into a                                                                    
Number 1500                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE responded:                                                                                                  
     Thank you.   Basically,  I think  that that's  what the                                                                    
     ... definition of  sustained yield in this  was - which                                                                    
     was also looked at by  other biologists - was basically                                                                    
     what you're saying.   In other words, ...  in this, the                                                                    
     maximum  sustained yield  is simply:    if there's  not                                                                    
     enough population ...  to be sustained by  a habitat at                                                                    
     the  maximum  level,  and that  maximum  level  is  not                                                                    
     enough to  sustain that  population with  hunting, with                                                                    
     consumption,  why,  then,  ...  the  maximum  sustained                                                                    
     yield  at   that  point  simply  can't   entertain  any                                                                    
     harvesting.    So  ... that's  what  maximum  sustained                                                                    
     yield is, and this is basically what you're saying.                                                                        
     So,  anyway, I  have a  couple of  other points  here -                                                                    
     habitat damage, and you mentioned  habitat change.  And                                                                    
     I  thoroughly agree  with you.   But,  ... once  again,                                                                    
     over  a long  period  of  time, when  you  look at  the                                                                    
     history ...  of the  highest sustained yield,  you will                                                                    
     notice ... that  not only the migratory  patterns - for                                                                    
     example, the caribou and even  the moose - are changed,                                                                    
     but there's  still a  history.   And that's  what we're                                                                    
     getting  at.   There is  still a  history of  what that                                                                    
     maximum  amount is,  regardless of  where they  went or                                                                    
     how many  there were.   This is [an] ...  historic note                                                                    
     here  that we're  looking at,  as far  as the  historic                                                                    
     habitat, historic  amount of animals, and  this type of                                                                    
     thing.   So this  isn't intended,  once again,  in this                                                                    
     bill, to  dictate what  the historic  high yield  is or                                                                    
     what the  historic high population  is.  It's  simply a                                                                    
     footnote  that  you  can  determine  that  through  the                                                                    
     history that is already on record.                                                                                         
Number 1330                                                                                                                     
MICHAEL  PURVIANCE testified  via  teleconference.   A farmer  in                                                               
Delta  Junction, he  referred to  Article 2,  Nuisance and  Other                                                               
Game  [Section 11,  page 8,  of the  bill], recounting  how large                                                               
numbers of moose,  buffalo, and brown bears had  converged on his                                                               
crops, causing extensive damage.   Mr. Purviance said he is tired                                                               
of the excuse  that wildlife lived there before him,  and that he                                                               
cannot  afford a  fence because  the animals  have destroyed  the                                                               
crops that  will allow him to  earn enough to construct  one.  He                                                               
suggested the public doesn't care  because it doesn't affect most                                                               
people's ability to produce income.                                                                                             
MR.  PURVIANCE  said   it  is  time  for  the   state  to  accept                                                               
responsibility for damage done to  crops [by wild animals] in the                                                               
state  and on  state agricultural  land.   He  proposed that  the                                                               
commissioner of  the Department of Natural  Resources be included                                                               
in "the  decision-making process  of farmers'  destroying animals                                                               
to  protect their  crops," that  the  commissioner should  assess                                                               
crop  damage  by  these  animals,  and  that  farmers  should  be                                                               
compensated  for losses  on designated  state agricultural  land.                                                               
He also proposed that interest-free  loans be provided to farmers                                                               
on state  agricultural land in  order to fence out  these animals                                                               
and protect  crops.  Every  year, he  said, he sees  thousands of                                                               
dollars  being raked  in for  buffalo and  moose permits  to hunt                                                               
[near] Delta Junction, when farmers  there must sustain the crops                                                               
and  crop  losses  and  must  feed those  animals  at  their  own                                                               
MR.  PURVIANCE, noting  that he  is a  former ADF&G  employee and                                                               
federal game  warden, said he  doesn't take the killing  of these                                                               
animals lightly;  however, farmers  cannot survive with  the huge                                                               
yearly  losses  from  these  nuisance  animals.    He  urged  the                                                               
committee to rewrite this section of  law in order for farmers to                                                               
protect their  land, way of life,  and income.  He  said he would                                                               
gladly grow  his crops for these  nuisance animals so long  as he                                                               
was  being  compensated  and  could   pay  his  loans.    In  the                                                               
alternative, he  suggested that farmers  who don't want  to fence                                                               
should be given  a special farm tag such as  is done in Missouri,                                                               
"and they can  either shoot the animal on their  land or sell the                                                               
permit to someone else as  compensation for crop losses caused by                                                               
moose and game."                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MASEK   asked  that  Mr.  Purviance   fax  any  written                                                               
testimony to the committee.                                                                                                     
Number 0931                                                                                                                     
JOEL BENNETT,  Defenders of Wildlife, testified  in opposition to                                                               
3d SSHB 178, noting that Defenders  of Wildlife is a national and                                                               
state  group composed  of  conservationists,  hunters, and  other                                                               
wildlife enthusiasts,  and that he  is a 32-year  Alaska resident                                                               
and active hunter.  He told members:                                                                                            
     We  oppose  this  bill because  of  several  provisions                                                                    
     which we  find to  be particularly  troublesome, having                                                                    
     to  do with  the mandates  and ...  numerical standards                                                                    
     that are imposed  by some of the sections.   And I just                                                                    
     would draw  your attention primarily to  the "sustained                                                                    
     yield"   language,    because   [in]    numerable   ...                                                                    
     discussions  and   meetings  over  the   decades,  this                                                                    
     constitutional  provision has  been explored  and never                                                                    
     changed.   It's very clear  in ... Article VIII  of the                                                                    
     Alaska constitution that  the sustained yield principle                                                                    
     is  left -  without  the word  "maximum"  or any  other                                                                    
     modifying  word preceding  it -  in order  to give  the                                                                    
     department  and  the  board   the  greatest  amount  of                                                                    
     flexibility in management.                                                                                                 
     We see  a clear effort  here, in  ... Section 1  of the                                                                    
     bill,  to not  establish  a goal,  but  to establish  a                                                                    
     mandate,  ...  with  language that  actually  says  the                                                                    
     commissioner   shall   manage  according   to   maximum                                                                    
     sustained yield.   And  that runs  against, as  I said,                                                                    
     ... the  main constitutional provision that  has guided                                                                    
     the department  and the board  with regard  to wildlife                                                                    
     in the past.                                                                                                               
     We  believe  that   the  existing  intensive-management                                                                    
     statute  provides  clear   direction  for  achieving  a                                                                    
     productive  return to  people  in Alaska  - hunters  in                                                                    
     Alaska  -  who  want  to utilize  resources.    And  it                                                                    
     doesn't need any further amendment.                                                                                        
MR. BENNETT called attention to a 1999 case, Native Village of                                                                
Elim v. State, which has language addressing the sustained yield                                                              
provision.  He told members:                                                                                                    
     I might just take a second  to read a note that's under                                                                    
     the  constitutional provision.    It  says, under  this                                                                    
     case, "To  require the use  of a  predetermined formula                                                                    
     under  the  sustained  yield clause  would  consume  an                                                                    
     amount    of   time,    money,   and    energy   wholly                                                                    
     disproportionate to potential benefits,  and would be a                                                                    
     counterproductive  use of  resources, limiting  the in-                                                                    
     season    flexibility    that   fisheries    management                                                                    
     requires."   And  I think  if  you look  at that  case,                                                                    
     you'll see  that it was  a wholehearted  endorsement of                                                                    
     leaving  as   much  flexibility  as  possible   to  the                                                                    
Number 0652                                                                                                                     
MR. BENNETT  expressed concern  about the  provision in  the bill                                                               
which specifies that the high  yield of human harvest wouldn't be                                                               
less than 15 percent.  He explained:                                                                                            
     There  have  been suggestions  in  the  past to  impose                                                                    
     percentage  requirements  like  this, and  ...  they've                                                                    
     never been adopted,  and I think with  good reason. ...                                                                    
     You  could have  several  years  of difficult  winters,                                                                    
     which would  drive down a population  of ungulates, and                                                                    
     then have  a normal year.   And for very  good reasons,                                                                    
     the  department  might  not want  to  allow  15-percent                                                                    
     harvest of  the surplus in  that year, in order  to ...                                                                    
     build the general population back up.                                                                                      
MR.  BENNETT concluded  by offering  testimony  as an  individual                                                               
hunter.  He told members:                                                                                                       
     I've  never had  any  problem  harvesting resources  in                                                                    
     this state,  whether it be  mountain sheep  or mountain                                                                    
     goats or caribou or deer or  anything else.  So ... I'm                                                                    
     entirely satisfied  with the  regulations as  they are,                                                                    
     and  I don't  see the  need  to try  to impose  further                                                                    
     mandates for people like myself.                                                                                           
Number 0542                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  reiterated his belief that  the bill doesn't                                                               
specify a harvest of 15 percent, but states it as a goal.                                                                       
Number 0491                                                                                                                     
ROD ARNO, Alaska  Outdoor Council (AOC), testified  in support of                                                               
the intent of HB 178, saying AOC  would like to see the bill move                                                               
out  of committee.   He  suggested that  the tools  given to  the                                                               
board to date by the  legislature haven't been adequate to supply                                                               
a reasonable  harvestable surplus.   He  reported that  last year                                                               
the  caribou  harvest was  down  4,000  from the  last  five-year                                                               
average; moose  were down 1,000,  from 8,000 to 7,000;  and sheep                                                               
were down  to 780  from an  average of 1,000.   He  said ungulate                                                               
populations are  falling to  the point where  it is  reflected in                                                               
the harvestable surplus.                                                                                                        
MR. ARNO  said he was  glad to hear  that there were  no concerns                                                               
over  the  enforcement  agents and  that  the  commissioner  will                                                               
remain able to deputize.  He  also offered his opinion that there                                                               
is "a lot  of smoke over maximum sustained yield,"  because it is                                                               
defined on page  8; he questioned that  as a concern.   As far as                                                               
having the  board report  back with  regard to  what achievements                                                               
have  been met  "on the  intensive-management side,"  he said  he                                                               
thinks that is important.  Noting  that the fish and game fund is                                                               
a dedicated  fund, he said  nonresident hunters, the first  to be                                                               
excluded during  a decline,  pay 80 percent  of that  fund, which                                                               
"amounts   to  80   percent  of   the   department  of   wildlife                                                               
conservation's entire budget."   He said AOC  supports passage of                                                               
the bill,  and reiterated  concern that there  isn't enough  of a                                                               
harvestable surplus.                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  MASEK  asked whether  anyone  else  wished to  testify;                                                               
there was no response.  She closed public testimony.                                                                            
Number 0212                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE remarked that it  had been a good discussion,                                                               
and noted the two different  interpretations of maximum sustained                                                               
yield.   He offered his opinion  that as stated in  the bill, the                                                               
intent is  similar with both  descriptions.  He said  he wouldn't                                                               
object to  bringing the legislation up  for a vote after  some of                                                               
the issues had been addressed.                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  MASEK indicated  3d SSHB  178  would be  held over  and                                                               
taken up at a later date.                                                                                                       

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