Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

04/13/2015 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Public Testimony --
Scheduled but Not Heard
<Pending Referral>
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
Scheduled but Not Heard
<Pending Referral>
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
Moved SCS CSHB 153(RES) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Moved CSSB 101(RES) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HB 153-PALMER HAY FLATS GAME REFUGE                                                                           
3:32:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced consideration of HB  153 [CSHB 153(RES),                                                               
version E, was before the committee].                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER, Alaska  State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
as sponsor, introduced  HB 153. He explained that  it expands the                                                               
Palmer  Hay Flats  State Game  Refuge, which  was established  in                                                               
1975,  to basically  encompass the  deltas of  the Matanuska  and                                                               
Knik Rivers, Cottonwood  Creek and Wasilla Creek,  all areas that                                                               
had dropped  two feet  in the  1964 Earthquake. A  lot of  it was                                                               
uplands  before it  dropped and  became salt  water marshes.  The                                                               
estuary is important for water  fowl, and shorebirds; it also has                                                               
a  lot of  overwintering  moose, because  the  browse is  readily                                                               
available and the  snow is not deep. It's  a multi-use management                                                               
area managed  by the Alaska  Department of Fish and  Game (ADF&G)                                                               
with  a  management plan.  Common  activities  are bird  hunting,                                                               
water fowl  hunting, viewing at  Reflection Lake,  moose hunting,                                                               
trapping,  bird dog  training and  sport  fishing; the  Machetanz                                                               
Elementary School is also located in  the area and sent about 200                                                               
letters in support of the refuge expansion.                                                                                     
3:33:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE joined the committee.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER  said this  bill  came  about because  the                                                               
Board   of  Game   passed  a   proposal  recommending   that  the                                                               
legislature add  state-owned lands  to the refuge.  The available                                                               
lands were traded to the state  for the specific purpose of being                                                               
included  in the  refuge  and  have been  managed  as such.  This                                                               
includes 2,900 acres that were acquired as far back as 1989.                                                                    
He  explained  that  motorized   vehicles  are  allowed  and  the                                                               
management  plan has  conditions for  things like  snow machining                                                               
and  designated trails  for  motorized  four-wheelers because  of                                                               
certain wetland areas.                                                                                                          
3:36:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI joined the committee.                                                                                      
SENATOR COSTELLO moved  to adopt the work draft SCS  CSHB 153( ),                                                               
labeled 29-LS0653\N, as the working document.                                                                                   
CHAIR GIESSEL objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER  said other  lands were acquired  that were                                                               
managed by DNR through an  Interagency Land Management Assignment                                                               
Plan  (ILMA) and  displayed maps  of the  refuge and  the parcels                                                               
being moved into it.  He said the CS on page  3, lines 25 through                                                               
page 4, line  1, adds a legal description of  the ILMA lands that                                                               
explicitly excludes  the Railroad right-of-way from  inclusion in                                                               
the refuge.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR MICCICHE  said he saw  letters of support only  and asked                                                               
if there had been any opposition.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER  answered  that  HB 153  had  received  no                                                               
opposition  and had  reached out  to sporting  groups like  Ducks                                                               
Unlimited, the Outdoor Council and some conservation groups.                                                                    
3:41:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  remarked that  the letters  from the  kids were                                                               
pretty incredible.                                                                                                              
SENATOR COGHILL said there was  a question on covenants and asked                                                               
what things were restricted on this particular refuge.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER  said he wasn't  that well versed  and that                                                               
the department could better address that.                                                                                       
3:42:49 PM                                                                                                                    
WYN MENEFEE,  Chief of Operations,  Division of Mining,  Land and                                                               
Water, Department of Natural  Resources (DNR), Anchorage, Alaska,                                                               
answered  that the  ADF&G  manages  the refuge  and  the DNR  co-                                                               
manages if there  are certain types of easements  for power lines                                                               
and such; those are allowed within the refuge.                                                                                  
3:43:25 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE DALEN, Acting Director,  Division of Wildlife Conservation,                                                               
Alaska Department of  Fish and Game (ADF&G),  explained that when                                                               
property   was  acquired   through  Great   Land  Trust,   Nature                                                               
Conservancy  and others,  the deeds  had restrictions  for refuge                                                               
purposes  only. The  management plan  for the  refuge that  would                                                               
apply to these  lands include snow machine use  before the ground                                                               
is  sufficiently frozen  and there  is sufficient  snow for  snow                                                               
machine use,  a seasonal horsepower  restriction for boats  and a                                                               
restriction of 4-wheelers to trails.                                                                                            
SENATOR COGHILL  said he was concerned  that at one end  they are                                                               
closer  to the  occupied areas  and the  other end  is closer  to                                                               
wilderness and asked if bow hunting was restricted.                                                                             
MR.  DALEN  answered that  the  Palmer  Wasilla management  area,                                                               
which  encompasses much  of this  area, is  a weapons  restricted                                                               
hunt, so large caliber rifles are  not permitted, but that is not                                                               
specific to the refuge.                                                                                                         
CHAIR  GIESSEL removed  her  objection and  said  the Senate  CS,                                                               
version N, is adopted. She opened public testimony.                                                                             
3:45:49 PM                                                                                                                    
HERMAN  GRIESE,  Alaskans  for  Palmer  Hay  Flats  Game  Refuge,                                                               
Palmer,  Alaska,  supported HB  153.  He  was a  Palmer  wildlife                                                               
biologist  while the  conservation lands  were being  accumulated                                                               
but not  being added to  the refuge.   The refuge had  no manager                                                               
until the later  part of the 1990s. They dealt  with trash at all                                                               
the  access  sites; one  was  commonly  referred to  "Rambo  Rest                                                               
Stop."  Those sites  required a  tremendous amount  of effort  to                                                               
maintain  cleanliness over  the years,  but  in 2004  a group  of                                                               
citizens called  the Alaskans  for Palmer  Hay Flats  Game Refuge                                                               
was formed to take that task on  and became a 501 (c)(3) in 2006.                                                               
Their goal  was to improve  the access sites for  cleanliness and                                                               
make them amenable to bringing  school classes down for education                                                               
The Cottonwood Creek  and Reflections Lake, Knik  River (has boat                                                               
access)  and Rabbit  Slew are  the primary  access points  to the                                                               
refuge. This bill  would include those and a  very important site                                                               
on the  western side, the Cowboy  Creek access. It would  be good                                                               
to have  entire tract in  the refuge  and the sponsor  had worked                                                               
very hard to make sure it meets the requirements of the refuge.                                                                 
3:50:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN joined the committee.                                                                                           
TOM ROTHE,  representing himself, Eagle River,  Alaska, supported                                                               
HB 153.  He and his  wife often use  the Palmer Hay  Flats Refuge                                                               
for hunting  water fowl. He  is the one  who wrote a  proposal to                                                               
the  Board  of Game  (BOG)  to  amend  the refuge  boundaries  to                                                               
redefine the  legal area  to include  the new  conservation lands                                                               
that were  available to the state.  He also worked for  ADF&G for                                                               
25 years as a water fowl  coordinator; part of his duties were to                                                               
manage  wetland habitats  useful for  ducks and  geese, including                                                               
the managing  the State Duck  Stamp Program, which  provided some                                                               
funding  as  seed money  to  enhance  management of  places  like                                                               
Palmer Hay Flats.                                                                                                               
He  emphasized that  this  is a  win-win  situation, because  the                                                               
people who own  this land ended up owning a  lot of wetlands that                                                               
are  unbuildable  due  to  subsidence  from  the  earthquake  and                                                               
various  other events  that made  the whole  area wetlands.  When                                                               
ADF&G  partnered  with  other  conservation  groups  and  private                                                               
interests, it  was an opportunity  for non-governmental  folks go                                                               
to  those owners  and offer  them a  fair value  for their  lands                                                               
along with some tax incentives.  Ultimately, the various partners                                                               
brought over $1.5 million, mostly  private dollars, to the table.                                                               
Conservation grants  were used  along with  State Duck  Stamp and                                                               
Sport  Fishing   Access  funds  as   seed  money  to   get  these                                                               
transaction done.  So, there was almost  no cost to the  state to                                                               
acquire these  3,000 or  so acres. The  ultimate winners  are the                                                               
public  who  gets   access  where  before  it   would  have  been                                                               
trespassing. They  get fish and  wildlife habitat,  like wetlands                                                               
and  shrub lands  that are  good for  moose habitat,  and streams                                                               
that are running with salmon.                                                                                                   
3:54:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROTHE said he got into  this ultimately, because he felt like                                                               
including  these   legally  into  the  refuge   really  fulfilled                                                               
promises  to all  the  partners  that stepped  up  with money  to                                                               
provide the public with these benefits.                                                                                         
He said these lands came to  the state with covenants on them but                                                               
generally say  these lands  should be  used for  refuge purposes,                                                               
and they  are subject to  a really good  comprehensive management                                                               
plan and  a set of  regulations to make  sure the use  is diverse                                                               
but reasonable.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR GIESSEL thanked him for  his efforts and finding no further                                                               
comments, closed public testimony.                                                                                              
SENATOR  STOLTZE  said  he  appreciated  Representative  Colver's                                                               
3:56:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  moved to report  SCS CSHB 153(RES),  version N,                                                               
from committee with individual  recommendations and attached zero                                                               
fiscal note. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 153 - Sponsor Statement.PDF SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - SCS CSHB 153-Version N.PDF SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - explanation of changes v.E to v.N.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - CSHB 153 (RES) v.E.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - Fiscal Note ADF&G.PDF SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - Palmer Hay Flats Proposed Boundary Change from BoG Prop 105.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - Palmer Hay Flats Current Land Statuts.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - Lands Overview.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - Lands Outline.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - BoG Proposal 105.PDF SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - BoG letter.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - AOC letter of support.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - Ducks Unlimited letter of support.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - Letter of Support Friends of the ANchorage Coastal Wildlife Rfuge.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - overview of Palmer Hay Flats.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
HB 153 - The Great Land Trust.PDF SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
HB 153
CSSB 57 Version S.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 57
SB 57 Explanation of Changes Version G to S.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 57
CSSB 57 - Letter of Support - RDC.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 57
CSSB101-Version W.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 101
CSSB101-Fiscal Note-DNRDPR-04-13-2015.pdf SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB101-Dept of Law Response-4-13-2015.PDF SRES 4/13/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 101