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Forum to focus on salmon habitat, conservation



Between this year’s low returns and a statewide ballot measure, salmon continue to be a hot topic this fall.

Cook Inletkeeper is holding a salmon habitat and conservation forum this week in Soldotna. Jode Sparks is a community organizer with the Homer-based non-profit.

“I really hope that this forum can help us move toward a long term and wider perspective on the issue. We talk a lot about what do we do right now that affects right now, but I want to look at tomorrow and really, the next hundred years or thousand years of salmon in Alaska and what we can do today to make sure tomorrow still has salmon.”

The panel will feature Cook Inlet Keeper’s Science Director, Sue Mauger and Branden Bornemann from the Kenai Watershed Forum. Sparks says with the politics of ballot proposition 1, which seeks to change habitat protections around the state, representatives from state agencies like the Department of Natural Resources or Fish and Game won't be on hand, but attendees will hear from local government.

“We will have Marcus Mueller, who is the land manager for the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Statewide workers usually stay away from issues of politics like the salmon initiative. It’s possible we’ll have another speaker who’s a retired fish and game worker, but for right now, the focus is on people who work in the conservation realm.”

The forum will be moderated by Merrill Sikorski. It’s open to the public and starts at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Community Room at the Soldotna Library.