Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 12:46 PM on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Borough creates streams task force

By Brian Smith
Morris News Service - Alaska

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and administration have formed a task force to mull over concerns that have been swirling around a land-use ordinance passed last year concerning the near shore habitat of anadromous streams.

Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said borough Chief of Staff Paul Ostrander and John Mohorcich, director of the Donald E. Gilman River Center, will lead the task force. Navarre said the first topic likely would center on the inclusion of lakes in the ordinance.

Twenty-five anadromous rivers and streams on the Kenai Peninsula currently have rules in place to protect near shore habitat while still allowing for some property owner development. Protections go 50 feet up the bank from the ordinary high water mark.

The anadromous streams ordinance passed by the borough assembly in June 2011 added 2,317 stream miles to the 602 stream miles previously in the district. Implementation for the east side of Cook Inlet was pushed back until January 2013.

Over the last several months, those current and future protections have been critcized as onerous by some property owners.

The anadromous task force is scheduled to first meet in early August. Notice will be given before all meetings and they'll be open to the public, Navarre said.