Hydro developers to pay $10,000 for fish habitat

Posted: Sunday, September 07, 2003

In addition to the $70,000 Lake Dorothy Hydroelectric Inc. will give the state for habitat restoration, it will make a $10,000 contribution to the Southeast Alaska Land Trust, to protect federally managed fish species.

SEALTrust is a Juneau-based nonprofit organization that purchases land for conservation and monitors conservation easements.

"We have a separate account that holds those fees and when we have a conservation project where we need some money to purchase valuable conservation lands or a conservation easement on those lands we can tap this compensation fund," said Diane Mayer, executive director of the SEALTrust.

Use of the money would be upon approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mayer said.

Sue Walker, a marine resources specialist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, said the $10,000 contribution came as a result of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitting LDHI's use of fill for the project.

Walker said NMFS requested that LDHI monitor the environmental impact of using fill for the project, which would have cost the company about $10,000. The agency later determined there would be little benefit to monitoring the area and instead recommended LDHI contribute the money to the SEALTrust, she said.

An agreement between the SEALTrust and the Corps of Engineers' regulatory branch in 1998 established a mechanism to compensate for wetland and other habitat losses.

"They might combine (the $10,000) with other funds to buy habitat at risk or to restore habitat that has been degraded," Walker said.

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