March Updates from the Watershed
West Su Mining Road Public Comments:
Call for Resubmission!
The West Su Mining Access Road, like any other project, must be guided by good Public Process, Transparency, and Accountability.
We are angered by the blatant disregard of the public from AIDEA and HDR.
The West Susitna Road is not a small project. Cost estimates published by the state show a cost range of $2 to $6.4 million dollars A MILE for this road, which includes crossing dozens of salmon-bearing rivers and streams. This road will change the entire Western Susitna area forever. Before we pay for it, we should make sure we want it and can afford it! Actively ignoring public comment does not bode well for trust in this "fast-tracked" process.
In December, AIDEA/HDR held their first and only public comment period for the entire Phase 2 MOU. More than 50 people sent in comments or submitted comments orally. In AIDEA's just-released details of this event (which are being used to advance to Phase 3 and to convince the Legislature to include $8.5 million in Bond funding for this project) almost none of the public comments are included and many of those that are, are incomplete or incorrect.
If you are one of the dozens of people that took the time to submit your Public Comments on the West Su Mining Access Road during this singular opportunity in December, please contact the Borough Manager and the Mat-Su Assembly and let them know that the public is being ignored and that some big questions need to be answered before the next MOU is entered into.
We are strong advocates of public involvement, especially for a project of this size. Because more than 50 people testified with concerns or questions (only two testimonials were in full support), SRC will be transcribing the meeting and submitting all comments and questions from the public for the record. IF this road is built, it should be through a transparent process and to the BEST possible standards for our communities and our habitat.
Please resubmit your previous public comments and express disgust and concern over the undermining of the Public Process to:
Borough Public Affairs Director,
Stefan Hinman, email@example.com
The Borough Assembly, firstname.lastname@example.org
March Winter Speaker Series:
Salmon Resilience in a Changing Climate
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 @ 5:30 PM
We are excited to welcome Sue Mauger for our March Winter Speaker Series!
How are streams in the MatSu basin responding to our changing climate?
Sue Mauger, the Science & Executive Director of Cook Inletkeeper, has been collecting temperature data in salmon streams around Alaska for the last 20 years. Her data helps us to understand how a rapidly changing climate is impacting salmon habitat.
Sue’s presentation will highlight work done in the Deshka - the largest Chinook salmon producer in the Susitna River watershed – that has helped map cold-water refugia. This knowledge can help guide conservation actions. Information collected will help build salmon habitat resiliency in a warming world.
Come with questions about our favorite fish, their habitat, and the changes we are seeing around us.
The event will be held online via Zoom and streamed FacebookLive. Our Facebook Event has more Information
Public Comment Period Extended For DNR Water Rights Extended!
The Public comment period for the proposed amendments to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources In-Stream Water Reservations has been extended until March 19, 2021.
In Stream Water Reservations allow Alaskans to reserve water, where it flows, to sustain fish and wildlife.
The proposed amendments further degrade our imperfect water reservation system. The proposed amendments strip away the right of Alaska Native tribes, individuals, NGOs and businesses to hold water reservation certificates to protect fish and wildlife habitat. In addition, the amendments may make it more difficult to maintain a water reservation over time.
So why does this matter? Alaskans deserve a fair system that doesn’t require ADF&G, individuals, businesses and Tribes to fight to keep water in streams to protect fish. Water should automatically be reserved to ensure that fish and wildlife are always protected. Maintaining an adequate level of water in rivers, streams and lakes will protect our fisheries from warming water temperatures, drought and other effects of climate change.
An automatic reservation of water is in the best interest of the state and protects our fisheries for future generations.
For more information, See the following resources:
Presentation on Water Rights in Alaska
Alaska Department of Fish & Game Water Reservation Program
The DNR description of Water Rights
SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT FORM LETTER SUBMIT INDIVIDUAL PUBLIC COMMENT
Matanuska Electric Association Elections:
The SRC Endorses Mark Masteller
for the Matanuska Seat
The Susitna River Coalition knows the importance of electing MEA board members who support expanding collaboration along the railbelt, speaking out against wasteful projects such as the Susitna-Watana Dam, and increasing engagement from member-owners like you!
MEA plays a large role in the Railbelt Reliability Council (RRC) which is an effort between electric associations from Fairbanks to Homer to share power and innovation ideas. Energy innovation is great but projects such as the Susitna-Watana Dam have shown us that we need responsible board members advocating for responsible renewables on the MEA board and the RRC.
That is why the Susitna River Coalition has launched a program to engage member-owners of MEA across the 4,500 miles of power lines to get out and vote for positive candidates in the MEA board elections each spring.
The Susitna River Coalition proudly supports Mark Masteller for the Matanuska Seat in the upcoming MEA Elections.
Mark Masteller is a longtime Alaskan who came to Palmer 33 years ago to work for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. For the past 20 years his work has been related to building science, energy efficiency, and renewable energy systems. He now teaches online for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus where he is Director of the Sustainable Energy program. Mark was elected to the MEA board in 2017 and is seeking re-election this year. He is opposed to the construction of the Susitna-Watana Dam and is the only member of the board who advocates for a diverse, renewable energy grid in the MatSu.
See Mark's Facebook Page and Website for more information on our endorsed candidate AND the SRC's Website for a great overview on the MEA elections and why we care.
Monday, March 22nd - Voting Begins
Tuesday, April 27th - Annual MEA Members Meeting/Election day
Show the Su some Love!
Whether you went for a boat trip on one of the Su’s many tributaries, ate salmon caught from it’s the mouth near Cook inlet, or simply took in the view standing on her banks, the Su has been a resource and escape for many of us during the past year.
Help us stand for the river that sustains us and consider donating to the SRC through Pick.Click.Give in 2021.
You can count on us to keep you informed about threats to the watershed, provide educational materials about the latest science and policy, and to share your stories of life in the watershed.
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