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Mat-Su Borough approves salmon protections for culverts

November 15th, 2013 | Posted by Alaska Salmon Alliance in Articles | News | User Groups

By MOLLY DISCHNER, ALASKA JOURNAL OF COMMERCE

As fishing organizations throughout Southcentral gear up for the contentious Cook Inlet fisheries meetings this winter, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough has taken its own action toward improving fish runs.

In August, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly passed an ordinance requiring fish-friendly culverts for new roads that cross anadromous water bodies.

That came after about a decade of work to improve fish passage throughout the borough by several partners.

During 2013, the borough replaced three culverts, reopening more than 13 miles of upstream habitat, according to Bill Rice, who works on culvert issues through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In the next two years, at least six more culverts are fully funded for replacement, Rice wrote in a Nov. 5 email.

About $6 million has been spent at 80 sites so far, mostly on Mat-Su Borough roads, but also including work with private landowners, Rice wrote.

At a Nov. 5 assembly meeting, the borough took the next step by accepting money from the legislature intended for work to improve fish passage.

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