Category Archives: News Media Reports

Alaska Dispatch: Alaska game board shoots down bid for Denali wolf buffer

ADN article by Zaz Hollander, February 24th, 2017.

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News

The Alaska Board of Game has summarily rejected a no-kill zone for wolves on state lands north and east of Denali National Park and Preserve during its first consideration of the contentious wolf buffer since 2010.

The unanimous and fairly quick vote of the seven-member board came Friday afternoon during a weeklong meeting in Fairbanks amid heavy pressure from the public, wolf advocacy groups and the National Park Service to ban hunting and trapping on state lands next to the park.

A Park Service study last year linked the presence of a buffer to more wolf sightings for Denali visitors, though dens near the park road were a bigger factor. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists say relatively low numbers of moose, caribou and sheep influence wolves more than any buffer.

The board’s decision marks the latest salvo in a long and recently inflamed war over predator-control policy between state and federal officials.

A Park Service proposal called on the board to close a 150-square-mile area, including the Stampede Corridor, to hunting and trapping during the spring breeding season and into the summer. Another proposal from the Denali Citizens Council and Alaska Wildlife Alliance also included Nenana Canyon and called for a year-round ban.

The board voted down the broader proposal, rendering the Park Service proposal moot. They did not vote on it.

Continue reading the full article at Alaska Dispatch News…

President Obama declares waters in and near Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas leasing- ADN

From Alaska Dispatch, by Lisa Demer, December 16, 2014

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News

President Obama on Tuesday declared Bristol Bay “a beautiful natural wonder” and designated its salmon-rich waters indefinitely off limits for oil and gas leasing.

Environmentalists say the move provides significant protection not just for the iconic Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, but for crab, herring, halibut and groundfish, including the lucrative pollock fishery. And salmon returning to the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers pass through the waters that had been considered for drilling.

“Hey, everybody,” President Obama said in a videotaped message posted Tuesday on YouTube. “Earlier today I took action to make sure that one of America’s greatest natural resources and a massive economic engine not only for Alaska but for America, Bristol Bay, is preserved for future generations.”

Some 40 percent of the nation’s wild-caught seafood comes from Bristol Bay, and its waters have supported Alaska Native people for centuries, the president said.

“It’s something that’s too precious for us to just be putting out to the highest bidder,” Obama said.

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News

 

Fish and Game appointees must be based on science – ADN LTE

Letter to the editor, Alaska Dispatch News, December 11th, 2014

by Vic Van Ballenberghe

Stephen Stringham’s recent column (ADN, Tuesday) highlighted the need for a well-qualified Department of Fish and Game commissioner who could ensure science-based management of Alaska’s precious fish and game resources. But well-qualified deputy commissioners and division directors are essential too, as are competent fish and game board appointees.

As Stringham correctly states, recent high level fish and game appointees have lacked the necessary qualifications to meet the challenge of curbing politically grounded management decisions that trump sound science. During the past three administrations, fish and game appointees at all levels were chosen mainly for their political loyalties with predictable results—unprecedented levels of poorly grounded management programs.

We need to return to management processes that have a biological basis. The first step is to conduct a widespread search for the best commissioner candidates available, to have the fish and game boards interview them, and for the boards to submit names to the governor. The commissioner must then appoint deputies and directors who can do the job. And the governor must search for good board members. We deserve better management of our fish and game resources than we’ve had during the past 12 years and the Walker administration can provide it with the right appointees.

Alaska needs Fish and Game chief to heed science over politics, ideology- ADN article

From Alaska Dispatch, December 8th, 2014. By Stephan Stringham

Dear Governor Walker:

You are at least our fourth governor to promise management of Alaska’s fish, wildlife and habitat resources based on the best available science.

The wisdom of that should be as obvious as assuring that if our kids need medical operations, key decisions will be made by top flight physicians, not by insurance adjusters. It’s like assuring that when we fly in a plane, its maintenance and piloting will done by expert mechanics and pilots, not PR staff.

Unfortunately, each of your recent predecessors has judged “best” science by whatever gave the most convincing rationalization for decisions based on political expediency, rather than by how well the “science” conformed to the laws of nature. Continue reading

Denali Federal and State Wildlife Management Forum: Report from Denali Citizens Council

From the Fall newsletter of Denali Citizens Council

No one expected new decisions to be announced, and little new information was imparted, but at least one of the three panelists at DCC’s August 5 forum on wildlife management at Denali’s boundaries said he saw reason for hope and maybe even progress. Near the end of the two hour forum, John Toppenberg, director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance (AWA), opined that there were areas in which he and Nate Turner, vice chairman of the state Board of Game (BOG), could agree and cited “rays of hope.”

Recognition of those “rays of hope” came two hours after Toppenberg, in his opening remarks, noted that too often the state’s response to myriad wildlife management issues is, “No problem. Kill more wolves.”

Read the full report at DCC here. (This article begins on page 5)