I spent 38 yrs. managing fisheries from California to the Arctic, and I support Ballot Measure 1.
My career included: Salmonid (salmon, steelhead, trout) management as a Pacific and North Pacific Fishery Management Council member; developing amendments to the Forest Practices Act; an advisor in US/Canada Salmon Treaty negotiations and implementation, and reviewer of funding proposals for rehabilitation of salmonid habitat. I reviewed 10’s of thousands of pages of scientific material pertaining to salmon life history, stock status and marine and fresh water salmon habitat.
History shows salmonids can survive and prosper under varying ocean conditions, high seas foreign drift nets and even over-fishing if fresh water spawning, rearing and migratory habitat remain.
Centuries of unregulated development, stream clearing, canalization and damming have eliminated wild Atlantic salmon runs in Ireland, Britain, Europe, Eastern Canada and the Atlantic coast of the U.S.; only remnant runs remain. This past century similar unregulated development depleted or expunged over 90% of the historic salmon runs in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
Where Lewis and Clark found fish so numerous one could walk across the streams on the backs of salmon, less than 10% remains. Unregulated development in the Pacific NW transferred corporate, private and municipal development costs associated with habitat protection to future public responsibility to rehabilitate habitat and restore salmonid stocks. Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments, along with Non-Profits and private funds have spent 2-3 Billion dollars to restore and rehabilitate salmonid habitat and even transform developed property back to its natural salmon bearing state. They project spending additional $10 Billion by 2100.
Prior to Statehood unregulated development of roads and railroads eliminated year-round access to 100’s of miles of spawning, rearing and migratory salmon habitat. Current state, federal and municipal strategic plans describe post-Statehood failures under existing Title 16 protection measures such as undersized or poorly designed culverts or stream migratory blockages.
Ballot Measure 1 is a local initiative responding to the Alaska Board of Fisheries call for a legislative update to Title 16. When the Legislature held HB 199 in committee at the behest of resource development lobbyists and provided no floor vote, local Alaskans went through the initiative process to bring it before the public for a vote. A legislative up-date of Title 16 was needed to reflect current project development requests, and a loss of Habitat protection resulting from a 2011 Legislative repeal of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) which eliminated State, Federal and Community participation and public comment. Leaving Alaska as the only coastal state without CMZ. The same development lobbyists who pushed repeal of CZM, insured legislative inaction on revising Title 16 (HB 199) this past session and are spending over $11 M to garner a No Vote on #1. They use the same playbook (misinformation, doubt & fear) that Tobacco companies did to distort the impacts of smoking, that fossil fuel companies used to distort their impacts on changing world climate, and assertions that reasonable habitat protection measures will stop all development. These are not truths.
Ballot Measure 1 does not stop proposed projects as claimed in ads by multinational corporate opponents. It does require public notice and participation on large projects and more scientific review. This may result in some project delay; but consider that robust project development still occurs in the Lower 48 under more restrictive regulations than those proposed under B.M. 1. Unlike Alaska, most project development in the Pacific NW salmon states must meet stringent habitat protection imposed by the Endangered Species Act, because unregulated development occurred in pristine habitat and depleted or extirpated native salmon stocks there. Vote Yes for Salmon, Yes on 1!
Earl Krygier, 38 years Fisheries Management Experience, ADF&G and U.S. Commissioner, North Pacific Anadrmous Fish Commission (retired).