John Morton

  Today, we look at invasive species - those critters large and small that endanger the natural beauty, and in some cases, our way of life here on the Kenai Peninsula. Our guests are  John Morton, the supervisory biologist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Jennifer Hester of the Kenai Watershed Forum’s Adopt a Stream program, and Rob Massengill, a fisheries biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. We begin the conversation discussing invasive northern pike, a sports fish introduced to the Kenai Peninsula, and whose eradication has taken decades.

On the Kenai Peninsula, salmon are king. Whether they’re king salmon or one of the other species of salmonid that populate our fresh waters. And that’s why when there’s a biologic danger to their existence, people go into high gear to try and protect them.

Take invasive species for example. About 20 years ago, northern pike were illegally introduced into Kenai Peninsula lakes by persons unknown. And they thrived, just like they do elsewhere in Alaska where they naturally occur. But here on the Kenai, the pike’s success came at a cost - the lives of baby salmon.

On this week's Kenai Conversation we find out how interconnected the natural world is on the Kenai Peninsula when we welcome retired Kenai National Wildlife Refuge ecologist Ed Berg and the refuge’s John Morton, the supervisory wildlife biolgogist to talk about how a warming climate has shrunk lakes and ponds, caused an increase in wildfires and an explostion in the moose population.

People can question climate change all they want, but according to a couple Kenai Peninsula scientists, one change in the climate in 1968-69 might be exactly why there is an abundance of moose in our back yard today.

Exactly how interconnected the natural world is on the Kenai Peninsula became obvious when KDLL welcomed retired Kenai National Wildlife Refuge ecologist Ed Berg and the refuge’s John Morton, the supervisory biologist to the studio.

This week on the Kenai Conversation, guests John Morton, the supervisory fish and wildlife biologist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and Hans Rinke, the Kenai-Kodiak Area forester with the Alaska Division of Forestry discuss our forests, the trees in them, their future and the potential threats they face.