Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:43 PM on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

News Briefs

Fish and Game to visit council

Representatives from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game visit the Homer City Council on Monday to discuss improvements to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit. Jim Hasbrouck, Southcentral regional supervisor, Anchorage, and Carol Kerkvliet, assistant area management biologist, Homer, will talk about a proposed $255,000 Capital Improvement Project to dredge the popular salmon fishing hole.

The fishing lagoon has become filled over the years, with 60 percent of the lagoon now 4 feet deep or less at mean low tide when originally built to 12 feet deep. The low water level has diminished flushing of the lagoon, affecting the ability of hatchery reared smolt to survive. Shallower depths also concentrate anglers on the Mud Bay side of the lagoon, where it is deepest.

ADF&G representatives speak during the visitors portion of the agenda at the early part of the meeting starting at 6 p.m. Monday in the Cowles Council Chambers, Homer City Hall. Fishing lagoon improvements are a proposed item to go on the 2012-17 CIP list. The council also holds a public hearing on the CIP on Monday.

Public lands celebrated

The Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center celebrates National Public Lands Day on Friday with several events. The celebration also honors efforts by the Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges to coordinate purchase of five lots next to the Islands and Ocean trail along Beluga Slough. On Monday, the Conservation Fund, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and Moose Habitat Inc. closed on the sale of high-value wetlands and moose habitat next to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land at the end of East Bunnell Avenue.

"We are so lucky to have this incredible volunteer achievement to celebrate this public lands day," said Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Manager Steve Delehanty.

Events scheduled include an Art Walk created by Fireweed Academy on the Beluga Slough trail and a reception for entries in the Picture the Heart of Homer photo contest. The reception and awards ceremony starts at 7 p.m. followed at 7:40 p.m. with a walk along the trail to see art and listen to music by Sunrise Kilcher. Luminaries by Fireweed students will light the trail.

Testing dates mammoth remains

Samples from two woolly mammoth remains submitted last month to BETA Analytic in Miami, Fla., for radiocarbon dating were recently received by local historian, archaeologist and author Janet Klein. Testing of a tusk found near Deep Creek indicates its age to be about 31,740 years old, while a mammoth molar found near Bishop's Beach is about 40,080 years.

Earlier this year, testing done by the University of California Irvine indicated a woolly mammoth tusk fragment found between Homer and Anchor Point to be about 27,000 years old and the age of a woolly mammoth ankle bone found near Homer to be more than the radiocarbon dating process can identify, meaning it is in excess of 48,500 years. The information is part of a growing body of evidence that woolly mammoths did roam the Kenai Peninsula at one time. It fits with the research of Dick Reger, Soldotna geologist and author, that points to a time period when conditions on the peninsula would have supported a population of woolly mammoths.

"This couldn't be better," Klein said of the two new test results. "It couldn't be more perfect than to have them drop right in the middle." The BETA Analytic test results were announced Saturday during a presentation made by Klein and Reger at the Soldotna Historical Society.