*2022 is Off to a Big Start!*
Recreation Rivers, Susitna Oil & Gas Leases, Speaker Series
Susitna Basin Recreation Rivers Management Plan
Advisory Board Meeting: 1/27/22, 10AM-12PM
Do you know about the Susitna Basin Recreation Rivers Management plan?
In the 2021 state legislative session, a bill was introduced to repeal the recreation rivers designation of six Susitna watershed rivers: The Talkeetna, Little Susitna, Deshka River, Lake Creek, Talachulitna, and Alexander Creek. While the bill, SB97, did not pass in the 2021 legislative session, it will likely be revisited in 2022.
While the bill did not pass, the state was directed to form a long overdue Advisory Board. This advisory board has a few roles. Most notably, the commissioner will consult with the advisory board in preparing, adopting, and revising the recreation river management plan and regulations affecting use and management of the recreation rivers. This means that the Advisory Board will play a key role in any changes that might take place within the Recreation Rivers Management Plan. Voicing concerns and opinions to this board will be an important step in mitigating potential changes to the plan and keeping the plan in place.
The Susitna Basin Recreation Management plan was instituted to protect and manage our high use waterways. The plan is still as valuable today as it was during its initial formation due to the potential for large scale development projects, like West Susitna Access Road. Deconstructing the plan would decrease the level of fish habitat mitigation and necessary permitting required for development projects around these waterways with resulting in deleterious effects on fish and wildlife habitat.
The second meeting of this newly reconstituted board will be on Thursday, January 27 from 10-12. There will be an opportunity for public comment.
Susitna Basin Oil and Gas Leases
Comment Period Deadline: February 21, 2022
The Alaska Natural Gas Corporation has applied for two ten year gas exploration licenses for coal bed methane (CBM). License Area 1 has 434,835 acres and License Area 2 has 480,658 acres. This cumulative total of almost a million acres is approximately 1400 square miles. The areas are 7% of the whole Susitna River basin which breaks down to 64% of the Lower Susitna River Sub-basin and 36% of the Yentna River Sub-basin. The license areas encompass south of Willow north to near Peters Creek and beyond Skwentna to the west.
These exploration licenses would be a disposal of state land. The licenses are only for coal bed methane gas and can be converted to a lease or leases with no other written best interest finding required. The ten year license terms requires a “work commitment” of $3 million for license area 1 and $3.3 million for license are 2. “Work commitment” is defined as the amount that the applicant will spend on exploration, drilling, remote sensing, geological, geochemical and geophysical studies.
The Public Comment period for these leases is open until February 21, 2022.
Winter Speaker Series
What & Why?
Susitna Basin Recreation Rivers Management Plan
The Little Susitna, the Deshka, the Talkeetna River, Lake Creek, Talachulitna and Alexander Creek: the Susitna Basin's six Recreation Rivers have long been recognized for their unique natural features, drawing locals and visitors alike. In 1988, the Alaska State Legislature signed into law the Recreation Rivers Act and in 1991 the Susitna Basin Recreation Rivers Management plan was implemented. But what exactly is this plan, why was it implemented, and why is it still important to these rivers today? Join the Susitna River Coalition on February 15, 2022 at 5:30 PM as we welcome Bruce Talbot to discuss the Recreation Rivers Management plan and the newly constructed Recreation Rivers Advisory Committee. Bruce Talbot received his BS from University of Vermont in Wildlife Management and MS from Cornell University in Education specializing in Natural Resource Planning any Policy. He has worked for federal and state land management agencies throughout his career including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, and National Park Service. He worked for many seasons in different national parks around the country. He first came to Alaska in 1980 as a seasonal naturalist and backcountry ranger at Denali. In 1984 he took a fulltime job with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and retired in 2009 as a senior land use planner While with DNR, he was project manager for a number of planning projects including the Susitna Basin Recreation Management Plan, Denali State Park Plan, Wood-Tichchik State Park Management Plan, Denali Borough Management Plan for state lands and Chena River State Park Management Plan. He also helped with the Susitna Area Plan when he first began work at DNR. Bruce also supervised DNR staff reviewing federal plans for Conservation System Units (including Denali) and contributed to both the joint DNR/NPS visitor facility and access studies on both the north and south sides of Denali National Park. He enjoys cross country skiing hiking, and biking throughout Alaska. Find more information HERE and register for this virtual event HERE.
We are beginning to wrap up a great winter of speaker events. To end the season, we are welcoming two more speakers to our virtual series.
What & Why: The Susitna Basin Recreation Rivers Management Plan with Bruce Talbot
Pacific Lamprey in the Susitna Basin: A New Focus on an Old Fish with Trent Sutton
If you missed any of our other amazing speaker events, please take a look at our YouTube Channel and Facebook Page to watch:
Archaeological Studies in the Susitna Watershed with Dr. Kathryn Krasinski
Caribou Management in the Susitna Watershed with Heidi Hatcher
Creativity in the Watershed with Katelyn Walczyk and Katie Writer
Ecological Micro-Hydro Power with Dave Brailey
Energy Efficiency and Your Home with Mark Masteller.
Thank you for your support, attendance, and thought-provoking questions as we explored different aspects of our watershed through the winter season. Hope to see you at our final two events, and next year we hope to see you in person!
Love Alaska, Love the Susitna
Whether you ate salmon harvested in one of the Su's many tributaries, took your kids on an ice fishing trip, or hunted in the salmon-fed forest, the Susitna has been a resource and an escape for us during the past year.
The Susitna River Watershed is our home. As a grassroots organization, the Susitna River Coalition relies on the generous donations from members of our community. An easy way to support us through the coming year is by choosing the SRC when applying for your 2022 PFD through Pick. Click. Give.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our work or would like to get more involved. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates. Thank you for your support! SRC Board Members: Mike Wood, Whitney Wolff, Becky Long, Laura Wright, Howard Carbone, and Heidi Knudsvig