RE: Establishing Basic Protections for SalmonBy Owen Graham
September 07, 2018
Earlier this week I read an Opinion piece in Sitnews about the need to increase habitat protections for Alaska’s salmon. The article alleged that cumulative impacts on salmon can be seen in the watersheds around Southeast and in the salmon returns and harvests. That is incorrect; although salmon populations fluctuate from year to year, both the salmon escapements and salmon harvests in Southeast are much higher now than in the 1950s when most logging and other development commenced in Southeast Alaska.
The article points out that since 1990 there has been a mandatory 100-foot stream buffer on salmon streams on all state and federal lands. That is correct, but the article doesn’t mention that prior to 1990 there were site-specific buffers on all salmon streams. The state and federal biologists specified which streams required buffers and how wide those buffers had to be.
Finally, the article suggests that the monitoring of stream buffers is inadequate and accuses “the mining industry, Native corporations and others” of enjoying higher profit margins at the expense of salmon. That is simply false; I see the state and federal effectiveness monitoring reports annually and those reports indicate very good compliance with the state and federal rules. Further, the increased salmon escapements and harvests since the 1950s are a good indication that salmon habitat has not been harmed.
Received September 07, 2018 - Published September 07, 2018
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