climate change

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

The chickens and turkeys at Diamond M Ranch eat pretty well—especially if you consider the volume. Since last year, the birds have taken care of thousands of pounds of compost from households around the central peninsula.

Kenai Peninsula College hosted a two-part series of presentations on the possible effects of climate change on the future of fishing and hunting on the Kenai Peninsula. Part two focused on wildlife, featuring John Morton, retired supervisory biologist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and Erin Shew and Hope Roberts with the Chugach Regional Research Commission.

The full Zoom presentation is available on the Kenai Peninsula College Showcase page on Facebook.

Kenai Peninsula College hosted a two-part series of presentations on the possible effects of climate change on the future of fishing and hunting on the Kenai Peninsula. Part one, on fish populations and the Cook Inlet watershed, featured Dr. Erik Shane, fisheries biologist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Sue Mauger, Science and executive director with Cook Inletkeeper.

Elizabeth Earl

Alaska’s summer is short, but one of the ways it softens the farewell each fall is through a parting gift of delicious berries. In the late summer and early fall, Kenai Peninsula residents regularly flock to the wild lands for salmonberries, cranberries, blueberries, and crowberries and more.

Like everything, berry plants are being affected by the changes in the environment as climate change increases the temperature, lengthens the summer and, in many cases, dries it out. But according to University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers, the effect isn’t exactly clear-cut, nor directly in line with what you’d expect.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

The borough assembly voted to establish a commission on climate resilience and security on Tuesday without much opposition.

The commission will be advisory and include nine members with experience in at least one of the commission’s areas of focus representing the various regions of the peninsula. They will recommend policies for the borough on items like reducing waste going to the landfill, improving energy efficiency, increasing local use of renewable energy, and improving food security, among other areas. The commission will meet once per month and collaborate with the borough, utilities, communities, and other entities to adapt or mitigate significant changes to the environment, according to the ordinance.

The effort to establish a borough-wide commission on sustainability and climate resilience is gaining broader support coming up to the assembly’s vote on it.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is scheduled to consider whether to establish the commission during its June 16 meeting. The commission would be charged with advising the assembly and administration on goals like reducing waste, improving energy efficiency in buildings and transportation, and increasing local clean energy use, and work with borough staff and communities to plan for adaptations to environmental changes, among other goals. The commission would have nine members representing the various regions of the borough and four at-large seats appointed by the mayor and approved by the assembly.

The city of Soldotna is working toward a more ecologically prepared future. The council passed two measures at its May 13 meeting meant to help plan for and mitigate impacts due to climate change.

The first is agreeing to participate in a climate action planning cohort with the University of Alaska and other partners. Dr. Micah Hahn, with the University of Alaska Anchorage, explained the program.

The plans involve looking at historic climate data and future climate models, identifying potential impacts of climate change and doing an inventory of a city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Then using that baseline data to develop and prioritize resilience strategies, looking for opportunities to become more energy efficient, coming up with a framework to monitor progress and updating the plan to make sure it stays relevant.

She’s been working to develop a plan with Anchorage for the last couple of years and realized the process could be shared with other cities.

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy

If you've lived on the Kenai Peninsula for any length of time, you've probably noticed impacts of climate change, and that trend will irrevocably continue.

Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, gave a presentation at Kenai Peninsula College last week highlighting the rapidly accelerating pace of change.

"We're living through chaotic times. Expect the unexpected, whether it's how much snow we're going to get this winter, are we going to have sustained cold or what's going to happen with our ecosystems in these big changes," Thoman said.

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.