SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Habitat Division to Return to Department of Fish and Game


February 06, 2008

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced Tuesday the Habitat Division will be returning to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The decision to return habitat permitting functions to the Department of Fish and Game acknowledges that the responsibilities of Habitat Division are better aligned with the overall mission and structure of the Department of Fish and Game.

After an extensive review, Governor Palin, Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin and Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd concluded that the Office of Habitat Management and Permitting has done an outstanding job of fulfilling their statutory responsibilities under the Department of Natural Resources.

However, the move is expected to improve communications and avoid duplication of efforts while allowing Habitat Division to operate in the same manner it has at DNR to encourage responsible development and protect Alaska's resources.

"We are absolutely committed to the protection of wildlife habitat," Governor Palin said. "But we are just as committed to responsible development of our other resource industries such as oil and gas, mining and timber, and we're going to make sure that development occurs through strong oversight and cooperation between the departments."

The Governor emphasized that both departments share in the State's mission for responsible conservation and resource development and recognize that balancing these two functions is an integral part of their stewardship responsibilities.

"The department and I are committed to bringing these two functions together and making them work," said Commissioner Lloyd.

Both DNR and ADF&G commissioners acknowledge that Alaska's natural resources have not suffered because of the location of the habitat function at DNR and the DNR and ADF&G are committed to continuing and supporting the successful work that OHMP has achieved while at DNR.

"I have nothing but praise for the professional staff and the work that OHMP has accomplished at DNR," Commissioner Irwin said. "I am committed to making this transfer successful and we will work closely with the ADF&G to ensure that we are working together to achieve resource development with protection for Alaska's great environment."

In a statement released Tuesday the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) said they applaud Governor Palin for her prudent decision to move the Habitat Division back to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) where it rightfully belongs. Quoting the statment, "We agree with her that the move back to ADF&G will enhance Alaskans' trust that our state government is properly balancing resource development with resource protection. The move will allow more effective coordination among the expert biologists who are tasked with safeguarding our fish, wildlife, and their habitat. SEACC joins with many other concerned Alaskans to thank the Governor for her decision that will result in better protection of our incredible natural resources, especially our wild salmon so important to Alaska fishermen."

The Governor will submit an Executive Order to the legislature to return fish habitat permitting responsibilities to the Department of Fish and Game. Detailed planning for the move will begin immediately and movement of personnel and supervision will occur by July 1, 2008.


Sources of News:

Office of the Governor

Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC)


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska