DNR In-Stream Water Rights Revisions: Our Alaska State Entities should uphold and Honor the Alaska Constitution.
In-stream water reservations allow for water to be set aside, where it flows, for important purposes like salmon spawning and the protection of wildlife habitat. A reservation of water is similar to a property right. It cannot be changed without the approval of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Earlier this month, the Department of Natural Resources introduced some proposed revisions to in-stream water reservations. These new revisions allow DNR to take away rights from already approved water reservations. Revisions also do not allow any non-governmental entity, such as individuals, businesses, or Native Corporations, to hold water rights certificates. Additionally, these revisions unduly restrict Alaskans abilities to reserve water rights to protect our fisheries, wildlife, and other natural resources. These changes pander to the interests of industries, like mining, who commonly utilize in-stream water reservations.
The bottom line is that these new revisions strip away the few remaining rights of NGO's, individuals, Alaska Native Organizations and businesses that have a vested interest in protecting our fish and wildlife habitat. Also concerning is that currently held reservations will be harder to maintain. The Alaska Constitution states that “[w]herever occurring in their natural state, fish, wildlife, and waters are reserved to the people for common use.” Alaskans deserve a fair system that doesn't require us to fight for the right to keep water in streams to support our vibrant fish and wildlife habitat-- something that is protected by the very constitution of our state. The DNR is currently taking comments on this issue through Friday, February 26, 2021. You may submit written comments to Brandon McCutcheon at the Division of Mining, Land and Water, 550 W. 7th Ave, Suite 1070, Anchorage, AK 99501 or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be sending out an email containing a form letter early next week for an additional opportunity to submit comments
Wetlands Mitigation Ordinance Update
After more than a year of work, multiple public comment opportunities, as well as a brief stop work order, the Supplemental Wetlands Mitigation Ordinance (SWMO) has almost reached completion. The updated plan will be presented to the public at the upcoming MatSu Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting held on 2/18/21 at 4:00 PM. Public comments will be taken at the March Assembly meeting.
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Welcome to Jeremy Houston, our New Utilities Coordinator!
Jeremy is a lifelong Mat-Su resident, living on Dena’ina and Ahtna lands. Before joining the Susitna River Coalition he worked on many political campaigns in the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas. When not working, he can be found backcountry and nordic skiing, exploring the expansive MatSu trail systems, or kayaking on our vibrant lakes and rivers. Jeremy understands the importance of, and is passionate about, protecting the Susitna watershed and wetlands around the state.