Winter solstice is upon us and we are hard at work updating Alaska law to keep our rivers and streams filled with salmon for generations to come.
Our primary effort over the next month is signature collection, with our eyes set on the January 16 deadline. On that day, we plan on delivering petition booklets signed by a little more than 32,000 Alaskans – Alaskans who are committed to responsible resource development and a thriving economy in our state – to the Division of Elections. It’s a big hurdle in a short span of time, but the response from volunteers and the general public has been amazing.
This is an important time for all Alaskans as we work toward preserving our legacy of wild Alaska salmon. Thank you for keeping in touch and we wish all of you a warm and happy holidays.Gayla Hoseth, Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, and Mike Wood: Stand for Salmon
Petitions are filling up with signatures
Signature gatherers and volunteers have been busy collecting names across the state and the response has been overwhelmingly supportive. As Ryan Schryver, director of Stand for Salmon, told Fish Factor’s Laine Welch, he has “been blown away by the response from volunteers who are fired up about collecting signatures. We had hundreds of books go out almost immediately.”
A little more than 32,000 signatures are needed in order for the initiative to qualify for the ballot in next year’s election cycle. Residents statewide are eager for the opportunity to have their voices heard on an issue that so fundamentally affects who we are as Alaskans. A signer of the petition told Alaska Public Media’s AK Energy Desk that he “know(s) the importance of salmon to our entire state — not just any one group or individual, but to all of us.”
We are pleased to welcome Dr. Stephanie Quinn-Davidson as ballot sponsor
As reported in KDLG, one of our founding sponsors has stepped away , but we are excited to gain another. Dr. Stephanie Quinn-Davidson’s background and work experience in Alaska make her a uniquely qualified individual to help lead this effort. She has a doctorate in freshwater ecology, worked for several years as a fisheries biologist on the Yukon River for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and currently serves as the director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. In a press statement issued on Dec. 6, she said that “my work on the Yukon River has shown me that there is no replacement for salmon and when that resource is in decline and the population threatened, it has devastating impacts on the people who rely on it. I also understand that the communities I’ve worked with need economic development and upgrades to infrastructure to be able to thrive. There needs to be a balance and I firmly believe the Stand for Salmon initiative will provide the appropriate tools for achieving that delicate balance.”
Panelists discuss gaps in Alaska salmon habitat law at Kenai forum
A forum at Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association headquarters last Thursday, as reported in the Peninsula Clarion, provided a space for a diverse panel of experts, stakeholders and legislators to talk about the state’s law guiding development in salmon habitat. In referencing House Bill 199, Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) agreed there are “places where it could be improved.”
Valerie Brown, legal director for Trustees for Alaska, spoke in favor of the initiative, citing the current risk for large projects to be permitted without much enforcement authority from ADF&G and without public notice. While the conversation followed a winding course, one thing that pretty much everyone agreed upon was the importance of Alaska salmon habitat. Rep. Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak), House Bill 199’s sponsor, assured the crowd that the bill will have plenty of hearings and “will be on the front burner” during the upcoming legislative session.
Meanwhile, Alaskans continue to speak out…
Let’s do better than the rest of the world — Stand for Salmon - Anchorage Daily News op-ed, 11-2-17
Resource Development Council should Stand for Salmon - Anchorage Daily News op-ed, 11-14-17
Protecting salmon is part of doing business - Juneau Empire op-ed, 12-10-17