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Summer on the Susitna


 

Susitna Oil & Gas Leases


Late in June, we got word that the the Susitna Valley Gas Exploration Licenses were approved.


These leases represent just one of many proposed infrastructure projects that is slated for the Western Susitna drainage with the vision of turning it into an industrial zone. The West Susitna Industrial Access Road is just one of these large-scale projects.


The Susitna Valley gas leases cover 7% of the Susitna drainage and an area in which 1.6 to 1.9 million salmon return to each year. Effects from gas exploration and development on water resources could include contamination of groundwater and contamination of freshwaters from discharges from well drilling and production.

Read more about the findings here.


Appeals can be written to DNR by July 12, 2022:

"A person who is aggrieved by the final written finding who provided timely written comment on the original solicitation or the preliminary decision may request reconsideration in accordance with 11 AAC 02. Any request for reconsideration must be received within 20 calendar days after the date of issuance of the final best interest finding, as defined in 11 AAC 02.040(c) and (d) and may be mailed or delivered to


Commissioner, Department of Natural Resources, 550 W. 7th Avenue, Suite 1400, Anchorage, Alaska 99501; faxed to 1-907-269-8918; or sent by electronic mail with payment of the appropriate fee to dnr.appeals@alaska.gov.


 

The Far-Reaching Effects of Salmon


Migrating salmon impact much more than at first meets the eye. As we hear about the record numbers returning to Bristol Bay and begin catching salmon along the tributaries of the Susitna, it is exciting to hear about the vibrant ecosystems that these returns facilitate.


This fantastic article recently published in ADN highlights the importance of strong salmon runs and the profound impact

photo from Ned Rozell


they have on not only the next generation of fish but other pieces of the ecosystem surrounding them.

Let's keep our Susitna Salmon healthy and in turn support the rest of our free-flowing watershed.

 

Rail-belt Reliability Council: Call for Involvement!


Does working with other Alaskans on the railbelt power grid interest you?


There is a lot going on in Alaska with new alternative and renewable technologies. The five utilities on the railbelt, including the Matanuska Electric Association, are joining forces to become a more connected grid.


The Railbelt Reliability Council is forming as an advisory board of this continued partnership.

The Railbelt Reliability Council (RRC) is made up of representatives from utilities like the Matanuska Electric Association (MEA),representatives from private companies, and the state. The RRC was created to unite the five utilities on the railbelt to work together on things like Bylaws and governance structures.


The RRC is currently taking applications for their open seat specifically to serve as the alternate for the Independent seat (Seat M, a public citizen seat). If a director’s seat becomes vacant, the alternate for that seat will assume the role and responsibility of the director for that seat. The expectation of the alternate is to attend all the Board meetings when the director is unable to, or when the alternate is required by these Bylaws to vote.


To find out more and to apply: https://alaskapower.org/rrc/

 

Canyon Creek Coal Exploration

In June, we learned of a new exploratory coal permit at Canyon Creek, by Flatlands Energy Corp. The site is approximately 18 mi southwest of Skwentna airstrip and covers an area of 5120 acres with 20 exploratory wells.


For more information and instructions for comment, see the public announcement from the Department of Natural Resources. Public comments are due by 5PM on July 19th.

 

Care about our Recreation Rivers? Susitna Basin Recreation Rivers Management Plan


This past week, the Department of Natural Resources wrapped up its series of in-person scoping workshops in preparation of revision of the Recreation Rivers Management Plan. Scoping is an extremely important time for river users to speak up and indicate how they use the recreation rivers, what their concerns are, and if there is anything they believe should be changed.


Let DNR know that Recreational Rivers are important and that protections need to remain in place and be enforced to allow proper management of our loved and well-used wild rivers.



Public Scoping Workshops, Virtual


Comments should also be sent through this online form.

 

Why Should We Care?

The Susitna Basin Recreation Rivers Management Plan was designed as a tool for ongoing stewardship of the resources allowing targeted management in high use areas. Some of it's many purposes include:

  • Serving as a shoreline development guide to ensure that the projects are sited, designed and constructed to minimize degradation of water quality and impacts on recreation, navigation and fish and wildlife habitats.

  • Providing upland development guidelines for power-lines, pipelines, and airstrips to reduce potential safety hazards and impacts on fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, water quality and navigation.

  • Implementing wildlife guidelines to reduce bear conflicts, and enhance habitat.

  • Providing Riparian guidelines to protect these areas from overuse and degradation.

The Plan’s legislatively mandated goal of maintenance and enhancement of the land and water for a variety of uses is protected using these guidelines.


Revising the Susitna Basin Recreation Rivers Management Plan has the potential to decrease the level of fish habitat mitigation and necessary permitting required for development projects around these waterways resulting in deleterious effects on fish and wildlife habitat.


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