Elizabeth Earl

Reporter

News reporter at KDLL

The city of Kenai has been working on a way to stabilize its eroding bluffs for nigh on four decades. The city is now in the final phase of pre-construction design before being able to lock down funding and potentially get the project on the ground.

The bluffs that the city of Kenai sits on have been eroding, badly, for years. As the groundwater goes out, it pushes material out of the bluff to the bottom, where the river perpetually washes it away, accelerating the erosion. If the material falling out could build up, it could establish a slope over time that plants could grow on, making a more stable bluff that could in turn protect the buildings on top from tumbling into the river.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Several popular trails closed after being damaged by the Swan Lake Fire last year are reopening to the public.

The Skyline Trail, which takes hikers up a steep mile to the tops of the Mystery Hills, and Hideout Trail, which takes off from near the eastern entrance of Skilak Lake Road, are now open again. Fuller Lakes Trail has been open this year up to the lower lake, but closed up to the upper lake. That upper part is now open as well. All three trails are popular but were closed due to extensive damage during the fires in 2019.

CDC

The Kenai Peninsula Borough and the cities are getting their plans in place for distributing CARES Act funding to help with the impact of the coronavirus, with the goal of getting it out before the summer’s over.

When the federal government passed the CARES Act for coronavirus economic relief, the state of Alaska received all of it. The state would then pass it along to municipalities. Kenai was the first city on the peninsula to get a plan on the books and is getting its first round of checks in the mail this week. Larry Persily, a consultant working with the city on its CARES Act grant program, said 186 individuals applied for the initial phase, for a total of just over $2 million. The city council set aside $3 million for its grant program to businesses and nonprofits, so there’s a little left over in case the council wants to do more with it in the future.

AK LNG

The Alaska LNG Project has been stalled for years, but the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation is hoping a new, lower cost estimate will make it more competitive.

The corporation released the revised cost estimate during a board meeting on Thursday. The new estimate sits at $38.7 billion, about $5.5 billion less than the previous estimate, which was done in 2015. The new estimate was put together by AGDC with BP, ExxonMobil, and Fluor Corporation, a consulting company with experience in LNG.

U.S. Forest Service

Most of the Kenai Peninsula, and most of Southcentral Alaska, is covered by what’s called boreal forest. The forests are dominated by birch, cottonwood, alder and spruce, as well as a handful of other species. That's not a huge amount of biodiversity but boreal forests are home to several different kinds of spruce trees.

On the western peninsula, it’s mostly black spruce, which are the spindly, Nightmare Before Christmas-esque conifer trees growing in wetlands. But white spruce also grow in the Kenai-Soldotna area.

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