Legislature(1999 - 2000)

02/11/1999 10:15 AM Senate FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE BILL NO. 12                                                                                                              
"An Act classifying anadromous streams and                                                                                      
tributaries; relating to the designation of riparian                                                                            
areas; establishing buffers on certain streams and                                                                              
relating to slope stability standards on certain                                                                                
streams; and requiring retention of low value timber                                                                            
along certain water bodies where prudent."                                                                                      
SENATOR JERRY MACKIE referred to the sponsor statement but                                                                      
said he would not read it into the record.  SB 12 was a                                                                         
return from last session.  It passed the Senate and the                                                                         
House but got caught up in the last shuffle when the                                                                            
Legislature got ready to adjourn, according to the sponsor.                                                                     
He told the committee that this bill was a consensus agreed                                                                     
to by the forest industry, the fishing communities and the                                                                      
environmental community.  The bill would make changes to                                                                        
the Forest Practices Act, which governs forestry in Alaska,                                                                     
and specifically deals with Region One.  Region One is                                                                          
essentially made up of the coastal areas from Southeast                                                                         
Alaska north to Kodiak; were anadromous streams and rivers                                                                      
occur.  The bill would add more protection to those streams                                                                     
where salmon are running, Senator Jerry Mackie said. In                                                                         
doing that it would add different types of classifications.                                                                     
As far as he knew there was no controversy for the bill.                                                                        
It would go a long way to provide better public policy in                                                                       
the management of Alaska's fish streams.                                                                                        
Co-Chair John Torgerson asked if this was the exact same                                                                        
bill as the one passed by the Senate during the prior                                                                           
session.  Senator Mackie responded that while the bill was                                                                      
not exactly the same as came out of the Senate, it                                                                              
contained the exact changes that were adopted by the House                                                                      
of Representatives.  It was the current version that all                                                                        
parties agreed to, he stated.                                                                                                   
Senator Al Adams stated that because the bill had the                                                                           
support of all stakeholders, he was ready to move it from                                                                       
JEFF JAHNKE, State Forester, Division of Forestry,                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources testified on behalf of the                                                                      
department and the State Board of Forestry in favor of the                                                                      
bill. He said that this bill was a consensus as a result of                                                                     
a review of the Forest Practices Act in Region One.  It                                                                         
would do a couple of things.  I would change the stream                                                                         
classification and riparian management standards to allow                                                                       
for coverage of all anadromous streams and their                                                                                
tributaries.  All anadromous streams would be classified                                                                        
either as either type "A" or "B" and buffered and                                                                               
flexibility standards would be applied to them, he said.                                                                        
Tributaries to anadromous would be classified as either                                                                         
type "C" or "D" and flexibility standards would be applied                                                                      
to them.                                                                                                                        
Mr. Jahnke pointed out some important key points behind the                                                                     
consensus reached resulting in this bill.  First, the                                                                           
process and the resulting recommendation were based on the                                                                      
best available scientific information.  Secondly, the                                                                           
process was open to the public. He stressed that many                                                                           
different interests were involved in each of the steps.                                                                         
The next key point was that the results were supported by a                                                                     
wide range of interests represented by the Board of                                                                             
Forestry and the three natural resource agencies.  Those                                                                        
interests included commercial fishing, forest industry,                                                                         
native corporations, environmental organizations, mining,                                                                       
fish and wildlife biologists, professional foresters and                                                                        
He concluded by saying this was a good bill.  It provided                                                                       
additional protection to key water bodies in coastal Alaska                                                                     
in a way that was workable for the timber industry.                                                                             
Senator John Torgerson asked if more trees would be                                                                             
harvested as a result of this legislation. Jeff Jahnke                                                                          
replied that it would not impact the harvesting of timber.                                                                      
Senator John Torgerson commented that he felt the correct                                                                       
answer would be that the state would then put up more                                                                           
timber sales because this protects the habitat, fishing and                                                                     
the division had now identified more areas away from                                                                            
anadromous streams that could be put up for sale. Jeff                                                                          
Jahnke responded that this bill would strengthen the                                                                            
compliance with clean water requirements and would allow                                                                        
for increased harvest.                                                                                                          
JACK PHLEPS, Executive Director, Alaska Forest Association                                                                      
testified that the timber industry fully supported the                                                                          
bill. It will cost some money in terms of additional                                                                            
protections but it demonstrated the association's                                                                               
commitment to following science and forest practices.  He                                                                       
urged the committee to move the bill through quickly.                                                                           
Senator Al Adams offered a motion to move SB 12 from                                                                            
committee with the accompanying fiscal note.  Without                                                                           
objection, the motion carried.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects