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Juneau's delegation to host Taku River talk

Posted: January 5, 2012 - 1:08am

Will development of the Tulsequah Chief Mine harm Taku River fisheries? Thursday night marks the first meeting of a task force created to seek out and address potential threats.

Sen. Dennis Egan, and Reps. Beth Kerttula and Cathy Muñoz will join eight selected task force members and facilitator Kevin Ritchie. Juneau’s legislative delegation announced the Taku River Fact-Finding Task Sorce in Sept.

The task force will review the health of Taku River fish and assess the effectiveness of current state and federal statutes and regulations. The task force will also investigate which state or federal agency will monitor industrial vessel traffic on the river and make sure each vessel’s safety and spill response is up to the task.

Thursday’s meeting will feature Ed Jones and Charlie Swanton with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game who will talk about Taku River fish runs and characteristics of spawning and rearing habitat. On Saturday Kyle Moselle, Department of Natural Resources, Office of Project Management and Permitting will talk about planned development that affects the Taku River.

The task force is made up of eight people selected to meet several criteria.

John Katasse is an Alaska Native with ties to the Taku River. Cherie Rudolph is an owner of private recreational property along the river. Michael Ward owns a commercial recreational property along the river. Len Peterson is a Southeast Alaska salmon commercial fishing permit holder. A commercial fish processor, Jim Erickson, is dependent on Taku River fish. Richard Yamada is a licensed sport fishing guide in the Juneau area. The sport fisherman slot was filled by Mike Peterson and Paul Kissner fills the role of non-governmental biologist.

“We’re pleased to have nine good people who are willing to take time from their busy lives to review the biological health of Taku River fish stocks, habitat, and game resources,” Juneau Senator Dennis Egan said in a press release. “We’ve asked them to look into which agencies are responsible for monitoring the well-being of the river and assess the effectiveness of current state and federal statutes and regulations.”

Juneau’s delegation plans to hold the meetings in the Alaska State Capitol in the House Finance Committee Room, Rm 519 on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 5pm to 8pm and Saturday, Jan. 7 at 9am to noon. The public is encouraged to attend.

For more information contact Kevin Ritchie, Taku River Fact-Finding Task Force Facilitator, at 957-1599.

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