Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

03/11/2021 11:00 AM House FISHERIES

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11:03:24 AM Start
11:05:28 AM HB54
12:11:46 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                         March 11, 2021                                                                                         
                           11:03 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Geran Tarr, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
Representative Kevin McCabe                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 54                                                                                                               
"An Act establishing  the Alaska Invasive Species  Council in the                                                               
Department of Fish  and Game; relating to  management of invasive                                                               
species;  relating to  invasive  species  management decals;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB  54                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INVASIVE SPECIES MANAGEMENT                                                                                        
SPONSOR(s): FISHERIES                                                                                                           
02/18/21       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/15/21                                                                               
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       RES, FSH                                                                                               
02/24/21       (H)       RES REFERRAL MOVED TO AFTER FSH                                                                        
02/24/21       (H)       BILL REPRINTED                                                                                         
03/11/21       (H)       FSH AT 11:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
DANIELLE VERNA, Secretary                                                                                                       
Alaska Invasive Species Partnership (AKISP)                                                                                     
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing on  HB  54,  gave  a                                                             
PowerPoint  presentation describing  the Alaska  Invasive Species                                                               
AARON MARTIN, Program Coordinator                                                                                               
Alaska Regional Invasive Species                                                                                                
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service                                                                                                  
U.S. Department of the Interior                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing on  HB  54,  gave  a                                                             
presentation,   entitled   "Preserving  Alaska's   resources   by                                                               
managing invasive species," dated 3/11/21.                                                                                      
LISA KA'AIHUE, Special Projects Manager                                                                                         
Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association                                                                                              
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 54.                                                                  
TAMMY DAVIS, Coordinator                                                                                                        
Alaska Invasive Species Program                                                                                                 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing on  HB  54,  gave  a                                                             
PowerPoint presentation,  entitled "Department  of Fish  and Game                                                               
Invasive Species Program Report: 2021," dated 3/11/21.                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
11:03:24 AM                                                                                                                 
CHAIR  TARR  called  the House  Special  Committee  on  Fisheries                                                             
meeting to  order at 11:03 a.m.   Representatives Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
Story, Ortiz,  Vance, McCabe, and  Tarr were present at  the call                                                               
to order.   Representative Stutes  arrived as the meeting  was in                                                               
CHAIR  TARR,  prior to  introducing  the  scheduled agenda  item,                                                               
asked Representative  Ortiz for a motion  to reassign sponsorship                                                               
for a group of bills.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  moved that prime  sponsorship of HB  54, HB
26,  and  HB  28  be  that of  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                               
Fisheries.  [No objection was stated.]                                                                                          
CHAIR TARR explained what would  happen next in the process would                                                               
be a motion on the House floor to "switch those sponsorships."                                                                  
               HB 54-INVASIVE SPECIES MANAGEMENT                                                                            
            [Contains discussion of HB 26 and HB 28]                                                                            
11:05:28 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  54,  "An Act  establishing  the Alaska  Invasive                                                               
Species Council in  the Department of Fish and  Game; relating to                                                               
management  of invasive  species;  relating  to invasive  species                                                               
management decals; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
CHAIR TARR  remarked that working  with all  stakeholders results                                                               
in the  best legislation, and  stakeholders have been  engaged in                                                               
the  formation of  this  bill  over the  last  four  years.   She                                                               
described  a  Fall  2019  work   session  that  was  attended  by                                                               
scientists,  float  plane  operators, fishing  industry  members,                                                               
staff from the Department of  Natural Resources (DNR), staff from                                                               
the  Alaska Department  of Fish  & Game  (ADF&G), representatives                                                               
from soil and water conservation  districts, and tourism industry                                                               
members,  among  others.    She  said  many  threats  exist  from                                                               
changing climate  and water conditions, arctic  shipping, ballast                                                               
water in oil rigs, and visitors to the state.                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR  stated that  HB 54 would  create the  Alaska Invasive                                                               
Species  Council.   She stressed  the importance  of coordinating                                                               
[mitigation and management] efforts  to provide effective results                                                               
and best  use of  available funding.   She encouraged  members to                                                               
investigate  the  stakeholder  information and  committee  packet                                                               
materials to  gain an  understanding of  the groups  involved and                                                               
how they coordinate for best results.                                                                                           
11:09:48 AM                                                                                                                   
DANIELLE  VERNA, Secretary,  Alaska Invasive  Species Partnership                                                               
(AKISP),  gave a  PowerPoint presentation  describing the  Alaska                                                               
Invasive Species Partnership ("the  partnership").  She turned to                                                               
the  first  slide  and  specified  that  the  partnership  is  an                                                               
informal  group  comprised  of   individuals  from  agencies  and                                                               
organizations  throughout  Alaska.    She  said  the  partnership                                                               
recognizes  Alaska's vulnerability  to invasive  species and  its                                                               
goals of  coordination, cooperation, and action  aimed to prevent                                                               
the  introduction  of new  invasive  species  and to  reduce  the                                                               
impacts  of  existing  invasive  species.   She  added  that  the                                                               
partnership  provides  leadership  and support  to  stakeholders,                                                               
including members  of the  public.   She explained  that invasive                                                               
species   affect  land,   freshwater,  and   marine  environments                                                               
throughout  the state.    She relayed  that  the partnership  has                                                               
goals  to include  additional stakeholders  to provide  input and                                                               
coordinated responses.                                                                                                          
MS. VERNA showed the second  slide which listed the partnership's                                                               
board of  directors.  She  said members  of the board  consist of                                                               
individuals from nonprofit, Native,  academic, state, and federal                                                               
entities, and board members serve two-year terms.                                                                               
11:12:43 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. VERNA referred  to the third slide which  listed the standing                                                               
committees within  the partnership as follows:   Elodea, Northern                                                               
Pike,  Marine,  Government   Relations,  Workshop  Planning,  and                                                               
Outreach & Education.                                                                                                           
MS. VERNA directed  attention to the fourth and  last slide which                                                               
listed  the avenues  of outreach  conducted  by the  partnership.                                                               
She offered  to provide additional  information to  the committee                                                               
about the partnership's ongoing  activities and outreach and said                                                               
all are  welcome to  participate in the  partnership.   Ms. Verna                                                               
acknowledged  the passion  and  work being  done  by members  and                                                               
stakeholders  and  closed her  remarks  by  adding that  invasive                                                               
species are a continually evolving, active threat.                                                                              
11:15:26 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ   asked  whether  the   biggest  challenges                                                               
associated with  invasive species are  those on land or  those in                                                               
MS. VERNA  answered that  the threats  are equal  among different                                                               
biomes,  and that  terrestrial and  aquatic  biomes share  common                                                               
threats, such as that from elodea.   She explained that elodea is                                                               
an  aquatic  plant  which  arrives  [in  Alaska]  by  terrestrial                                                               
vectors  such as  boats transported  behind vehicles,  and elodea                                                               
[negatively] affects  the invertebrate species in  streams, which                                                               
can, in turn, affect salmon.                                                                                                    
11:17:09 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES asked  what invasive  species, other  than                                                               
elodea and northern pike, fall under the marine category.                                                                       
MS.  VERNA replied  that there  is particular  concern with  [the                                                               
introduction]  of  European  green   crabs  and  other  organisms                                                               
including algae.   She explained that the species  can be brought                                                               
into the state through marine and terrestrial vectors.                                                                          
11:18:15 AM                                                                                                                   
AARON  MARTIN,  Program  Coordinator,  Alaska  Regional  Invasive                                                               
Species, U.S. Fish  and Wildlife Service, U.S.  Department of the                                                               
Interior,  gave a  PowerPoint presentation,  entitled "Preserving                                                               
Alaska's resources by managing  invasive species," dated 3/11/21.                                                               
He  noted that  AIS,  the acronym  for  Alaska Invasive  Species,                                                               
would  be used  frequently.    He drew  attention  to the  second                                                               
slide, which read:                                                                                                              
     ? Infrastructure:                                                                                                          
          o Hydropower facilities:                                                                                              
               21% of the state's power                                                                                         
          o Watercraft:                                                                                                         
            68,616 registered watercraft (1/every 9                                                                             
               $587M annual economic impact                                                                                     
          o Floatplanes:                                                                                                        
               114 floatplane bases (40% of all towns)                                                                          
               Lake Hood floatplane base                                                                                        
                    $56 Million (labor + economic activity)                                                                     
       Food security and industries                                                                                             
          o Sport fishing - $2.4B                                                                                               
          o Salmon commercial fisheries - $4.2B                                                                                 
          o 229 Federally recognized tribes, 12 ANCs                                                                            
          o Hunting and wildlife viewing - $7.5B                                                                                
MR. MARTIN  explained that elodea  and zebra mussels can  have an                                                               
economic impact and restrict access to lakes and river systems.                                                                 
MR.  MARTIN referred  to the  map of  Alaska on  the third  slide                                                               
which  depicted  the  density,  distribution,  and  diversity  of                                                               
invasive species.  He explained that  Alaska is on the low end of                                                               
aquatic and terrestrial invasive species  and suggested it [is in                                                               
the state's best interest] to keep  the numbers of AIS low and be                                                               
able to eradicate new AIS quickly.                                                                                              
MR. MARTIN turned to the graph  on the fourth slide and explained                                                               
that Alaska enjoys  its position further left  [relative to other                                                               
states] on the "invasion curve"  related to freshwater and marine                                                               
environments.   He credited  the partnership  with being  able to                                                               
act quickly to take measures to  eradicate new AIS.  He suggested                                                               
that the key takeaway from the  slide is the illustration that as                                                               
AIS becomes  more established  and moves  up the  invasion curve,                                                               
the cost  of eradication along  with the costs to  ecosystems and                                                               
economies rises significantly.                                                                                                  
11:21:28 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MARTIN spoke  to the photographs of zebra  mussels and quagga                                                               
mussels on  the fifth slide.   He stated that these  species foul                                                               
infrastructures, including  water distribution systems,  and said                                                               
utilities can be seriously impacted.   He added that recreational                                                               
activities  and property  values  may also  suffer  as a  result,                                                               
which has occurred in the Great  Lakes.  He cautioned that salmon                                                               
and trout can also be affected.                                                                                                 
MR. MARTIN displayed the sixth slide  which depicted a map of the                                                               
U.S.  illustrating  the spread  and  establishment  of zebra  and                                                               
quagga mussels via commercial shipping  routes.  He next referred                                                               
to the seventh slide and  explained that containment efforts have                                                               
been  made by  state,  tribal, and  federal  entities along  with                                                               
marina operators  and other industry  members.  He said  the area                                                               
outlined in red  shows the Columbia Basin  Watershed boundary and                                                               
the  markers  within  the  boundary  show  inspection  sites  and                                                               
decontamination  sites.   He  stated  that  these inspection  and                                                               
decontamination   sites  do   not   extend   to  Alaska,   though                                                               
coordination and communication to that end is taking place.                                                                     
11:24:57 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MARTIN drew attention to the eighth slide, which read:                                                                      
        ? Research suggests high habitat suitability for                                                                        
     invasive mollusks.                                                                                                         
         ? No confirmed reports of invasive mollusks in                                                                         
     the wild.                                                                                                                  
               o Smith et al. 2005                                                                                              
           o D. Bogan 2012  AKISP presentation Kodiak                                                                           
MR.  MARTIN   continued  to  the   ninth  slide   regarding  boat                                                               
inspections for quagga and zebra mussels, which read:                                                                           
     ? Alaska has 3 native mussels and 21% of state's power                                                                     
     comes from hydropower facilities.                                                                                          
      226 watercraft inspected (2017-19) at Alcan Port of                                                                       
         o 70% not inspected in route, 30% inspected in-                                                                        
        o 38% coming from a state with Q/Z mussels, 62%                                                                         
     coming from states without                                                                                                 
     ? No live mussels detected yet, but?                                                                                       
     ? Currently assessing other critical control points in                                                                     
     BC, WA, and OR.                                                                                                            
MR.  MARTIN drew  attention to  the  second bullet  point on  the                                                               
ninth slide and  said no live mussels have been  found.  However,                                                               
he  continued, in  2019 a  watercraft  from the  Great Lakes  was                                                               
found covered  in dead zebra  mussels and it  required mitigation                                                               
measures  that included  a  high-pressure  rinse with  120-degree                                                               
water  and intricate  cleaning.   He  said the  service would  be                                                               
offered May through August this year.                                                                                           
11:27:36 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCABE  asked  whether  the  inspections  include                                                               
looking at both boats and trailers.                                                                                             
MR. MARTIN  answered yes,  boats and  trailers are  inspected for                                                               
zebra and quagga mussels as well as other AIS, inside and out.                                                                  
11:28:24 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MARTIN addressed  the tenth slide which  illustrated a Public                                                               
Service Announcement (PSA)  issued by the U.S.  Fish and Wildlife                                                               
Service (USFWS) regarding zebra mussels  found in moss balls sold                                                               
at pet stores.  He explained  that the USFWS has coordinated with                                                               
state agencies, pet store industries,  and other federal agencies                                                               
to ascertain how  long this may have been happening  and how many                                                               
items have  been sold.   He  noted that  zebra mussels  have been                                                               
found in moss balls in Alaska,  and that all moss balls have been                                                               
collected through efforts by staff at DNR and ADF&G.                                                                            
11:30:02 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  observed the PSA states  that zebra mussels                                                               
are the most  destructive invasive species in North  America.  He                                                               
asked where zebra mussels originated, if not North America.                                                                     
MR. MARTIN answered  that zebra and quagga mussels  are native to                                                               
the Black  Sea and Caspian  Sea in  Eastern Europe, and  the moss                                                               
balls imported to  the U.S. had originated from that  region.  He                                                               
added  that other  invasive species  may also  exist in  the moss                                                               
balls, and efforts are underway to identify and destroy them.                                                                   
11:31:09 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked whether there existed  any regulation                                                               
to  control  or  prevent  the shipping  of  online  purchases  of                                                               
contaminated moss balls to Alaska.                                                                                              
MR.  MARTIN  explained that  the  USFWS  is working  with  online                                                               
retailers such as Amazon, Etsy,  Petco, and PetSmart and that the                                                               
retailers have  taken the  items off  their online  catalogues or                                                               
should  have.   He  added  that the  state  has  been working  to                                                               
identify and  quarantine merchandise  that may contain  elodea or                                                               
other invasive aquatic plants, and to prohibit future sales.                                                                    
11:32:13 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MARTIN resumed his presentation  and brought attention to the                                                               
eleventh  slide entitled,  "Originating  locations of  watercraft                                                               
crossing  into AK,  summer  2017-2019."   He  explained that  the                                                               
slide illustrates the  interconnectedness of infested waterbodies                                                               
and  that AIS  may arrive  via boats,  fishing gear,  and waders,                                                               
having traveled from other states to Alaska.                                                                                    
MR.  MARTIN  directed attention  to  the  twelfth and  thirteenth                                                               
slides  entitled,  "Prevention  and Eradication:  Elodea,"  which                                                               
     ? Background:                                                                                                              
          o Alaska's 1st submerged aquatic invasive plant                                                                       
            Native to the Pacific Northwest and New                                                                             
          o Introduced through aquarium dumps                                                                                   
     ? Impacts:                                                                                                                 
        o Habitat degradation/ loss for fish and wetland                                                                        
     obligate species                                                                                                           
         o Reduced biodiversity, fishing opportunities,                                                                         
     floatplane and watercraft safety                                                                                           
          o Increased sedimentation                                                                                             
     ? Economic analysis:                                                                                                       
        o Impact Potential: Annual loss of $159M to the                                                                         
     sockeye salmon fisheries if not stopped (Schwoerer et                                                                      
     al 2019).                                                                                                                  
          o  Ship-borne  AIS  impacts in  the  Great  Lakes:                                                                    
     Annual cumulative  loss of $138M/year  to sportfishing,                                                                    
     commercial fishing and water  use. (Rothlisberger et al                                                                    
MR. Martin  turned to the map  of Alaska on the  fourteenth slide                                                               
entitled, "Known  Elodea Infestations  in Alaska."   He explained                                                               
where eradication processes are taking place in the state.                                                                      
11:36:31 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  what entities  and to  what                                                               
proportion each entity is involved in eradicating AIS.                                                                          
MR. MARTIN answered that the  USFWS provides financial and "boots                                                               
on  the   ground"  efforts,  the  soil   and  water  conservation                                                               
districts provides  leadership in the  Interior and on  the Kenai                                                               
Peninsula, and  DNR and ADF&G contribute  to eradication efforts.                                                               
He said  all parties contribute  equitably.  He pointed  out that                                                               
additional  resources are  needed  because elodea  is costly  and                                                               
difficult to locate and has been  found in new areas.  He further                                                               
added  that Cook  Inlet  Aquaculture  Association, Tyonek  Tribal                                                               
Conservation District,  and Manley Hot Springs  Village are other                                                               
examples of participants.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  surmised   that  each  effort  is                                                               
coordinated on an  ad-hoc basis.  He asked whether  the USFWS has                                                               
a dedicated budget for invasive eradication.                                                                                    
MR. MARTIN answered  that there is no dedicated  USFWS budget for                                                               
eradication.     He  said  allocated  funds   are  received  from                                                               
headquarters  for  the  prevention, early  detection,  and  rapid                                                               
response activities that have been  identified by working closely                                                               
with  partners throughout  Alaska.   He  advised  that a  federal                                                               
rapid  response  fund  and  a   state  rapid  response  fund  are                                                               
necessary  because taking  funding from  one critical  project to                                                               
address  an infestation  before it  gets too  much bigger  leaves                                                               
[his agency]  with less.   He  added that  moving forward  on the                                                               
other critical pieces cannot happen  because of being reactionary                                                               
on this other side.                                                                                                             
11:39:16 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  TARR  noted HB  54  would  also  create a  response  fund,                                                               
although the  bill would not fund  it.  She requested  Mr. Martin                                                               
to describe a year-by-year example of an elodea infestation.                                                                    
MR. MARTIN  responded that a  good example is the  Alexander Lake                                                               
infestation.  He explained the  eradication project was initially                                                               
estimated to  cost $90,000 per year  for three years, but  due to                                                               
planning  processes and  the lack  of partnership,  compounded by                                                               
staff  turnover in  multiple agencies,  the  project slipped  for                                                               
over a year  and a half.   He said the project  has now amplified                                                               
and  is  a  multi-million-dollar  eradication  project,  plus  it                                                               
possibly  led to  the  infestation  of nearby  Sucker  Lake.   In                                                               
Interior  Alaska, he  added, three  new  infestations were  found                                                               
last year;  one being  Harding Lake with  elodea estimated  to be                                                               
present in 40  of the lake's 800  acres.  He advised  that now is                                                               
the time to address it with  early intervention efforts at a cost                                                               
of  a few  hundred  thousand dollars,  thereby  averting a  whole                                                               
lake, multi-million-dollar eradication effort.                                                                                  
11:41:03 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MARTIN resumed  his presentation.  He moved  to the fifteenth                                                               
slide  and   explained  the   map  illustrates   current  habitat                                                               
suitability across  Alaska for elodea.   The "hotter"  the color,                                                               
he said, the  more suitable the environment for  elodea to become                                                               
established.  He  added that if the models are  correct the water                                                               
systems in Alaska will be warming up and [elodea will spread].                                                                  
MR. MARTIN stated that the  sixteenth slide entitled, "Freshwater                                                               
Vectors  -   Floatplanes,"  is  tied   to  the   floatplane  risk                                                               
assessment by Dr.  Schwoerer et al.  He said  the slide shows how                                                               
connected Alaska  is through the  floatplane industry.   He noted                                                               
that the "hotter" the color of  each line, the more frequent that                                                               
travel point.  He explained  that these vector analyses help with                                                               
prioritizing where  prevention efforts should be  focused as well                                                               
as area  protection efforts.   Efforts have been  expanded around                                                               
the Bristol  Bay area, he  continued, in recognition of  how much                                                               
traffic there is from Anchorage  and the Kenai Peninsula to Wood-                                                               
Tikchik [State Park], Togiak National  Wildlife Refuge, and other                                                               
lake systems near Bristol Bay.                                                                                                  
11:42:32 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MARTIN addressed the  seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth                                                               
slides  all  entitled,  "Prevention  and  Preparedness:  European                                                               
Green Crabs."  Speaking to  the seventeenth slide, he pointed out                                                               
that  European  green  crabs,  native   to  Western  Europe,  are                                                               
categorized among  the top 100  worst marine invasive  species in                                                               
the world.  He explained  that this crab harms native crustaceans                                                               
by eating and  outcompeting them and this  crab damages estuaries                                                               
by  eroding  and digging  into  mudbanks,  which are  a  delicate                                                               
environment  used by  freshwater and  marine juvenile  fish.   He                                                               
said  this crab  has  become established  throughout the  western                                                               
coastline [of the U.S.] and is moving north.                                                                                    
MR. MARTIN spoke  to the eighteenth slide and  specified that the                                                               
USFWS  has coordinated  with multiple  agencies  and industry  to                                                               
conduct  a risk  analysis to  understand how  ships move  and the                                                               
level of risk for introduction  [of European green crabs] through                                                               
human-created pathways.   He stated  that the "hotter"  the color                                                               
or the hotter  the area the more frequently  [the shipping route]                                                               
is used.   He pointed out that Dutch Harbor  is among the busiest                                                               
ports in North America with  boats coming directly from Southeast                                                               
Asia and North  Asia, as well as some of  the most infested ports                                                               
and bays  in North  America like San  Francisco Bay,  Tacoma, and                                                               
the Seattle area.                                                                                                               
MR. MARTIN showed  the nineteenth slide and  explained that these                                                               
marine shipping pathways bring ballast  water as well as critters                                                               
living on the  hulls of the boats.  He  directed attention to the                                                               
illustrations and  said that Alaskan  ports are above  the dashed                                                               
line and below the line are  the ports from which these boats are                                                               
coming - the  bigger the line the more frequent  the traffic.  He                                                               
pointed out  that Alaska  is hyper-connected  to places  that are                                                               
highly infested for marine invaders.                                                                                            
11:44:51 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  MARTIN   moved  to  the   twentieth  slide   entitled,  "Key                                                               
Takeaways,"  and  stated  that  Alaska's  way  of  life  and  its                                                               
industries are at risk from the  arrival of invasive species.  He                                                               
said  the  goal  is  to   keep  the  distribution,  density,  and                                                               
diversity  of  invasive species  low  so  there  is a  chance  to                                                               
eradicate them  before they become  so hyper-established  that it                                                               
is  unfeasible.    He  said  it is  essential  to  solidify  this                                                               
foundation of the existing partnership  to increase awareness and                                                               
prevention about the  issue and to build on  the organization and                                                               
capacity  among this  partnership.   Each entity  has one  or two                                                               
people fully  dedicated to this,  he advised, and  oftentimes the                                                               
partnership gets pulled from one  house fire to another, which is                                                               
not a sustainable way to operate on such an important topic.                                                                    
11:46:14 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  TARR complimented  the research  and  presentations.   She                                                               
invited the next witness to begin.                                                                                              
11:46:46 AM                                                                                                                   
LISA KA'AIHUE,  Special Projects Manager, Cook  Inlet Aquaculture                                                               
Association,  stated she  serves as  the  chair of  the board  of                                                               
directors  for  the Alaska  Invasive  Species  Partnership.   She                                                               
thanked Ms. Verna  for describing the partnership  and Mr. Martin                                                               
for  describing the  invasive species  issues  facing Alaska  and                                                               
what is at stake  for the state.  She said she  will focus on why                                                               
the  partnership supports  HB 54  and will  address the  two main                                                               
pieces of the bill -  establishment of an Alaska Invasive Species                                                               
Council and a rapid response fund.                                                                                              
MS. KA'AIHUE stated  that the proposed council  is needed because                                                               
the partnership is  informal and dependent on  volunteers to push                                                               
forward  with  invasive  species   initiatives.    She  said  the                                                               
partnership has been  successful but can only do so  much to move                                                               
forward with  invasive species issues and  cannot compel agencies                                                               
and stakeholders to participate.   She specified that an advisory                                                               
council  to  the Alaska  Department  of  Fish and  Game  (ADF&G),                                                               
comprised of  members from state,  federal, local,  regional, and                                                               
tribal  governments,  and non-governmental  organizations  (NGOs)                                                               
and industry,  would provide a  venue for  regular communication.                                                               
The  result,   she  continued,  would  be   consistent  statewide                                                               
priorities,   efficient   management   approaches,   and   common                                                               
messaging  to prevent  the introduction  and  spread of  invasive                                                               
species in Alaska.                                                                                                              
MS. KA'AIHUE  allowed a  council may seem  like another  level of                                                               
bureaucracy  but said  it would  ensure resources  and funds  are                                                               
used in  a coordinated fashion  across governmental  agencies and                                                               
departments.   A council, she stated,  would break organizational                                                               
silos  that  are  inherent  when  organizations  have  their  own                                                               
missions combined  with limited resources.   Staying proactive by                                                               
creating  this broad  council, she  continued, would  ensure that                                                               
limited  resources   are  used   efficiently  and  with   a  high                                                               
probability   of  success   against  the   potentially  devasting                                                               
invasive  species that  Alaska is  facing.   The Alaska  Invasive                                                               
Species Partnership  will do everything  it can as  volunteers to                                                               
support the council,  she advised, and will  offer its experience                                                               
with  input on  strategic  planning along  with providing  issue-                                                               
specific expertise.                                                                                                             
MS.  KA'AIHUE expressed  the partnership's  support  for a  rapid                                                               
response fund  as outlined in HB  54.  She said  this would allow                                                               
ADF&G to  make appropriations  to the  fund in  the future.   She                                                               
added that prevention  is the best strategy  for stopping harmful                                                               
invasive species, but that preventing  introduction is not always                                                               
possible.  She  stated that a rapid response  fund would increase                                                               
the likelihood  of successful eradication of  invasive species so                                                               
that  Alaska  would  not  be  dealing  with  multi-million-dollar                                                               
management problems later.                                                                                                      
MS. KA'AIHUE stated  she is partial to salmon  given the industry                                                               
she  works in.   She  drew  attention to  the only  slide in  her                                                               
presentation,  which  depicted  a northern  pike  from  Alexander                                                               
Creek  with a  "belly  full of  salmon fry."    She advised  that                                                               
wherever  invasive pike  are found  in  Southcentral Alaska,  the                                                               
pike's bellies  are full of  salmon or whatever  resident species                                                               
are  left  over  after  the  favored  food  of  salmon  has  been                                                               
consumed.  "Can you imagine  Southcentral Alaska without salmon?"                                                               
she asked.  She  said this is a critical example of  why HB 54 is                                                               
needed since Alaska defines itself by its natural resources.                                                                    
11:51:08 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS expressed  his surprise at learning                                                               
from the  committee packet  information that  pike are  native to                                                               
many  Bristol  Bay  watersheds.    He  asked  what  it  is  about                                                               
Southcentral  watersheds that  pike  are  so destructive  whereas                                                               
there seems  to be  equilibrium in the  ecosystem with  salmon in                                                               
Bristol Bay watersheds.                                                                                                         
MS.  KA'AIHUE  offered her  understanding  that  pike and  salmon                                                               
evolved together  north of the  Alaska Range, but when  pike were                                                               
introduced to  Southcentral it was  a totally new  inland species                                                               
and because  the pike and  salmon did not evolve  together there,                                                               
the predatory pike took over.   She deferred to the next witness,                                                               
Ms. Davis, to address the topic further.                                                                                        
11:52:41 AM                                                                                                                   
TAMMY  DAVIS,  Coordinator,   Alaska  Invasive  Species  Program,                                                               
Alaska Department  of Fish and  Game (ADF&G), during  the hearing                                                               
on HB  54, gave  a PowerPoint presentation,  entitled "Department                                                               
of Fish  and Game Invasive  Species Program Report:  2021," dated                                                               
3/11/21.   She displayed slide  2, "Invasive Species  Costs," and                                                               
this  slide reiterates  the  points brought  up  by the  previous                                                               
speakers to instill the grave  threats that invasive species pose                                                               
to Alaska's  fisheries, recreation, means of  transportation, and                                                               
to  Alaska's  economies that  rely  on  healthy fisheries,  clean                                                               
water, and environmental resources.                                                                                             
MS.  DAVIS moved  to  slide 3,  "Invasive  Species," and  defined                                                               
invasive  species as  a non-native  organism  that is  introduced                                                               
into an  ecosystem where  it can cause  harm to  the environment,                                                               
economies, and human  health.  She related  that ADF&G's invasive                                                               
species  program  strives  for   high  caliber  invasive  species                                                               
management based on the best  available science and technology to                                                               
protect,  maintain,  and  improve  the  native  fish,  game,  and                                                               
aquatic plant  resources of the  state and their  habitats, along                                                               
with  the economic  and well-being  interests of  Alaskans.   She                                                               
said  the  department does  this  through  collaboration with  an                                                               
array of partners,  and added that work  and investment continue,                                                               
most  notably   the  strategic  and  successful   eradication  of                                                               
northern  pike  in  Southcentral  Alaska.    The  department  has                                                               
outstanding  biologists, she  continued, and  ADF&G supports  and                                                               
grows its  community-based early  detection monitoring  work with                                                               
citizen scientists and agency  staff, including marine monitoring                                                               
for  European green  crabs.    That model,  she  noted, has  been                                                               
expanded to fresh  water to find what has yet  to be detected and                                                               
to  prepare   for  what   may  be  coming.     She   said  strong                                                               
relationships  have  been  established with  stakeholders.    She                                                               
pointed out  that reporting and strategic  planning are essential                                                               
for success, and strategic plans are being actively updated.                                                                    
MS. DAVIS showed slide 4,  "Timeline of Invasive Species Events,"                                                               
and reported that  in the past 11 years the  number and diversity                                                               
of  non-indigenous species  released into  [Alaska's] waters  has                                                               
more  than doubled  compared  to the  past 40  years.   This  was                                                               
expected  to be  a growing  problem, she  said, because  invasive                                                               
species  are spread  to Alaska  through expanding  transportation                                                               
pathways, such  as more vessels  and people into the  Arctic, and                                                               
through the global  distribution of goods.  She  said projects to                                                               
eradicate  invasive  species  infestations that  originated  from                                                               
illegal  release  require  expertise,  collaboration  with  other                                                               
agencies  and  landowners, and  reallocation  of  staff time  and                                                               
financial resources over  years.  These projects  are costly, she                                                               
advised, but  necessary to reduce  the chance of  further spread,                                                               
to  restore  valuable habitats,  and  to  reestablish or  improve                                                               
fishing  opportunities.   She stressed  that  to efficiently  use                                                               
funds  and  avoid  environmental   and  economic  impacts,  rapid                                                               
response and preventing new introductions is crucial.                                                                           
11:56:53 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. DAVIS provided  a review of some of  the infestation projects                                                               
that ADF&G has addressed.   She stated that northern pike, slides                                                               
5  and 6,  were first  released  into the  Yentna River  drainage                                                               
during the 1950s, with drastic impacts  on native fish.  She said                                                               
ADF&G has  had successful  projects over the  years and  is still                                                               
working hard to protect salmon  fisheries in Southcentral Alaska.                                                               
She explained  that response decisions  differ within  the region                                                               
based on what  is feasible for specific water bodies.   She noted                                                               
that Anchorage  and Kenai Peninsula  waters were  prioritized for                                                               
early eradication projects  over the past 10  years because those                                                               
lakes  were  accessible  and eradication  possible.    Ms.  Davis                                                               
reported that  application of the aquatic  pesticide rotenone has                                                               
eradicated  pike   from  23  water   bodies.    She   noted  that                                                               
infestations  in  the   Matanuska-Susitna  (Mat-Sue)  Valley  are                                                               
widespread, especially in the west  side tributary drainages like                                                               
Alexander  Creek where  salmon populations  have been  decimated.                                                               
She  explained  that  preventing new  introductions,  eradication                                                               
where  possible,  and  suppression via  targeted  gillnetting  is                                                               
being used in  this case to reduce pike  populations and increase                                                               
survival  potential for  juvenile salmonids.   She  said research                                                               
includes collaboration with universities  and federal agencies to                                                               
prevent  pike from  moving into  new waters,  to understand  pike                                                               
movements  and   predation  impacts,   and  to   determine  where                                                               
populations originated.                                                                                                         
MS. DAVIS  moved to slide  7 and  reported that yellow  perch are                                                               
found in  an unnamed  lake on  the Kenai  Peninsula in  2000, the                                                               
first fish  introduced to Alaska  waters that were not  native to                                                               
the state.  She related that  ADF&G used rotenone, with help from                                                               
the  Minnesota Department  of Natural  Resources,  to remove  all                                                               
yellow perch and that none have been found since that removal.                                                                  
MS. DAVIS,  in reference to  the earlier question  about northern                                                               
pike from Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins, confirmed that northern                                                               
pike were native  to most of Alaska but were  introduced into the                                                               
Southcentral region where they were not native.                                                                                 
11:59:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. DAVIS spoke  to slide 8, "Dvex."  She  said Didemnum vexillum                                                               
(Dvex), an invasive  colonial sea squirt, was found  at an oyster                                                               
farm  in  Sitka's  Whiting Harbor  during  the  inaugural  Marine                                                               
Invasive Species Bioblitz in 2010.   The oyster farm was visited,                                                               
she explained,  because aquaculture  is both  negatively affected                                                               
by invasive species and a common  pathway for spread.  The entire                                                               
oyster farm was  infested, as was the Whiting  Harbor seabed, she                                                               
reported.   Despite removal of  all infrastructure from  the area                                                               
and  ADF&G's collaboration  with  partners in  novel research  to                                                               
eliminate  and control  the tunicate,  it remains  established on                                                               
the seafloor.   She added  that Whiting Harbor would  be surveyed                                                               
again this year.                                                                                                                
MS. DAVIS displayed  slide 9 and said muskellunge,  also known as                                                               
muskies, are  in the same family  as northern pike.   She related                                                               
that in  2018 during  a pike eradication  treatment on  the Kenai                                                               
Peninsula,  eight unusual  looking pike  were recovered,  and DNA                                                               
testing confirmed  the fish to be  muskies.  Based on  the age of                                                               
the fish and anecdotal information,  she continued, the fish were                                                               
likely released in 2012.  She  added that this species could have                                                               
dire impacts to salmon fisheries and stocked fish populations.                                                                  
MS.  DAVIS addressed  slide 10,  "Largemouth Bass."   She  stated                                                               
that  in 2018  a  Sand  Lake angler  caught  a  fish he  couldn't                                                               
identify;  DNA identified  the fish  as a  largemouth bass.   She                                                               
pointed out that  largemouth bass are native  to northern Midwest                                                               
states and  Canadian provinces and  are voracious  predators that                                                               
have led  to local extinction  of several fish  populations where                                                               
they have been introduced.                                                                                                      
MS. DAVIS  turned to slide 11  and said another surprise  in 2018                                                               
was the illegal introduction of  fathead minnows to a small water                                                               
body on  the Kenai Peninsula.   The pond was drained  and treated                                                               
with  rotenone  in 2019,  she  related,  and ADF&G's  pathologist                                                               
found that  the minnows  were carrying a  parasite that  could be                                                               
harmful to native fish.                                                                                                         
12:02:10 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. DAVIS showed slide 12, "GOLDFISH,"  and noted that 2018 was a                                                               
big  year for  invasive  species detections;  goldfish were  also                                                               
reported  that year  in Cuddy  Pond  in Midtown  Anchorage.   She                                                               
related  that manual  methods were  not effective  in controlling                                                               
the  problem,  so  ADF&G  requested  and  received  an  emergency                                                               
exemption  from  the  Department  of  Environmental  Conservation                                                               
(DEC) to apply rotenone, removing over 10,000 goldfish.                                                                         
MS. DAVIS referred to slide  13, "RAINBOW TROUT," and stated that                                                               
last year rainbow  trout were illegally imported  from a hatchery                                                               
in Oregon and  released.  Unlike most  illegal introductions, she                                                               
noted,  the  release of  those  trout  into  a Kenai  water  body                                                               
resulted  in  a  law  enforcement   citation  from  a  successful                                                               
partnership between ADF&G and Alaska Wildlife Troopers.                                                                         
MS. DAVIS  discussed slide  14, "ZEBRA  MUSSELS."   She specified                                                               
that Alaska  is facing a  considerable threat from  this species,                                                               
and it was  unexpected to find that the aquatic  plant trade is a                                                               
pathway  for zebra  mussels.   According  to  the Pacific  States                                                               
Marine Fisheries  Commission (PSMFC), she related,  the estimated                                                               
cost  of failing  to prevent  an  invasion of  zebra mussels  and                                                               
quagga  mussels into  the Columbia  River  Basin, which  includes                                                               
waters  located  in  the Pacific  Northwest  states  and  British                                                               
Columbia, would  exceed $500 million.   She added that  states in                                                               
the  region are  currently  spending $13.2  million  per year  on                                                               
prevention efforts, including watercraft inspections.                                                                           
MS.  DAVIS concluded  her presentation  with slide  15, "INVASIVE                                                               
SPECIES REPORTING."   She said ADF&G hosts  online smartphone and                                                               
telephonic options  for reporting invasive species.   She pointed                                                               
out that  when an organism is  reported for which ADF&G  does not                                                               
have  jurisdiction, the  department shares  that report  with its                                                               
identified partners.                                                                                                            
12:04:32 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked whether  Ms. Davis  is still                                                               
ADF&G's only staff exclusively dedicated to invasive species.                                                                   
MS. DAVIS replied,  "Yes, with a caveat," and  noted that ADF&G's                                                               
Region 2 office has staff who are focused on northern pike.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  why  northern  pike are  so                                                               
much more of a malevolent  ecosystem force in Southcentral Alaska                                                               
relevant to the rest of Alaska.                                                                                                 
MS.  DAVIS  responded  that  salmon  and  northern  pike  evolved                                                               
together where the pike are  native.  In addition, she continued,                                                               
Southcentral  has much  shallower and  slower moving  systems and                                                               
many side water sloughs where  vegetation is perfect for northern                                                               
pike reproduction.                                                                                                              
12:06:01 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS inquired about  the extent to which                                                               
ADF&G  could   ascertain  the  source  of   an  invasive  species                                                               
introduction down to a specific person or event.                                                                                
MS. DAVIS  answered that because of  new technology, particularly                                                               
environmental DNA,  fish can be  tied back  to home waters.   For                                                               
example, she  said, the rainbow  trout were tied back  to Oregon.                                                               
In another  introduction, she continued,  it was  determined that                                                               
the fish  originated in the  Midwest but in that  situation ADF&G                                                               
was unable  to work with  the troopers  to follow through  on any                                                               
sort of citation.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS, in relation  to going forward with                                                               
HB 54,  inquired about whether  criminal penalties exist  for the                                                               
introduction  of invasive  species.   He  further inquired  about                                                               
whether there is a  way to get some revenue in  the bill given it                                                               
is a classic "ounce of prevention is a pound of cure" situation.                                                                
CHAIR TARR responded  that there is some good news  to report but                                                               
in the interest of time she is saving it until the next meeting.                                                                
12:08:50 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY noted  that when  children learn  something                                                               
they pass it  on to their parents.  She  asked about efforts that                                                               
the partnership and ADF&G are undertaking to reach young kids.                                                                  
MS.  DAVIS  replied  that direct  interaction  with  children  is                                                               
occurring  in  the  Kachemak  Bay area  where  the  Kachemak  Bay                                                               
National   Estuarine  Research   Reserve  does   early  detection                                                               
monitoring with students,  and it is also occurring in  Sitka.  A                                                               
challenge,  she pointed  out,  is  that kids  are  out of  school                                                               
during the period in which most of the trapping events occur.                                                                   
MR. MARTIN  added that the partnership  developed a communication                                                               
strategy  in which  key  audiences were  identified,  and one  of                                                               
those main  audiences is teachers,  educators, and students.   He                                                               
said  current  efforts  include the  development  of  educational                                                               
toolkits  for  distribution  in classrooms  and  visitor  centers                                                               
throughout the state.                                                                                                           
12:11:00 PM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR thanked the speakers  for their presentations.  [HB 54                                                               
was held over.]                                                                                                                 
12:11:46 PM                                                                                                                   
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Fisheries meeting  was adjourned  at 12:12                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 54 Sponsor Statement - Version W 1.28.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HRES 4/16/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 54
HB 54 Version W 1.15.21.PDF HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HRES 4/16/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 54
HB 54 Sectional Analysis - Version W 1.20.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 54 Fiscal Note - DEC-CO 3.5.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Fiscal Note - DFG-DSF 3.5.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - ADFG Invasive Species Presentation 3.11.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - Alaska Invasive Species Partnership Presentation 3.11.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - USFWS Alaska Invasive Species Presentation 3.11.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - Ka'aihue Presentation - 3.11.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - ADFG Newsletter - Invasive Species 4.2021.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - Cost of Managing Invasive Species in Alaska 7.2012.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - Cost of Invasive Species in US 1.2012.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - States with Invasive Species Fees or Stickers 7.24.20.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Supporting Document - WA Invasive Species Council Fact Sheet 1.2017.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54
HB 54 Letters of Support 3.10.21.pdf HFSH 3/11/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/6/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 54