SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions


By Rep. Dan Ortiz


October 26, 2016
Wednesday AM

The Stikine, Taku and Unuk watersheds are a major factor in the reliability of our seafood and tourism industries. Our fisheries, mariculture, and tourism industries rely on healthy watersheds, which replenish these resources and maintain our scenic reputation and seafood quality. If these rivers are not maintained for quality, our resources will diminish, as vital nutrients and safety conditions will lapse.

According to recent estimates from the McDowell Group, the total annual economic contribution of these watersheds to Southeast Alaska is approximately 48 million dollars. Our Southeast economy is at risk if watershed conditions deteriorate. The watersheds for these rivers are on the Canadian side of our border. This is why we must engage with Canada on transboundary issues.

I applaud the Statement of Cooperation between the State of Alaska and British Columbia, which was spearheaded by Lieutenant Governor Mallott. I was active in the dialog during the drafting process for this document and know that this statement of cooperation will provide an excellent framework for our future engagement with Canada on transboundary issues. It will be a useful tool as we continue advocating for Canada to adopt mine permitting regulations similar to the regulations that have created world-class mining operations here in Alaska.

While some resources may dwindle over time, fisheries, mariculture, and scenic resources will never become scarce if we maintain the integrity our watersheds.

Rep. Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received October 25, 2016 - Published October 26, 2016

About: Ortiz is an independent member of the Alaska House of Representatives, who has since 2015 represented the 36th District. He is the only independent in the Alaska State Legislature. He is running for re-election.


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