Cook InletKeeper

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding the Kenai Peninsula Borough with a competitive grant to create a community-wide composting project, making it possible for more individuals and businesses on the central peninsula to send their organic waste to farms instead of landfills.

“Oh man, I’m so excited about this project," said Kaitlin Vadla, regional director for Cook Inletkeeper. "It’s a huge win for the borough and for our area. It’s hard to get these big national grants. And so the fact that we got it is really exciting.”

Sabine Poux/KDLL

This particular pocket of Beaver Creek is not far from the road, just a short and muddy tromp away from a gravel parking lot between Kenai and Soldotna. But it’s home to several cold water inputs that could be crucially important for young salmon as they swim from the Kenai River to Cook Inlet.


Rashah McChesney/Alaska Energy Desk

A federal judge ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revise its regulations on oil dispersants, siding with Cook Inletkeeper and other plaintiffs that the current regulations don’t reflect updated research on how toxic those chemicals can be.

Salmonfest returns

Aug 6, 2021
Sabine Poux/KDLL

After taking a year off in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Salmonfest is back, Aug. 6, 7 and 8. KDLL reporter Sabine Poux is at the fairgrounds in Ninilchik to see how the 10th annual music festival is shaping up. Cook Inletkeeper Executive Director Sue Mauger and Kenai Peninsula Fisher Poet performers says its important to celebrate salmon.

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.

Cook Inletkeeper

It’s been a late spring, but the sun is finally peeking out and people are getting more out to participate in runs and other events. The pandemic has lessened, which means those events are getting more back to normal.

Ariel Silverman

Stacking pallets of recycled electronics is a little bit like playing a game of Tetris.

“So we have monitors and then we have printers and scanners, and then we have maybe a miscellaneous pallet," said Satchel Pondolfino, the lower inlet organizer for Cook Inletkeeper. “You stack them on top of each other in a way that seems as stable as you can make it.”

NOAA

A federal permit allowing Hilcorp to drill in Cook Inlet does not account for the harm vessel noise could pose to endangered belugas there, according to a decision yesterday from a District Court judge.

Cook Inletkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity challenged the permit in a 2019 lawsuit. Judge Sharon Gleason sided with those groups this week, ruling NOAA Fisheries did not account for how noise from Hilcorp’s tug boats would cause harm to belugas when it authorized the company to work there.

Rashah McChesney/Alaska Energy Desk

The federal government has hit pause on preparations for an oil lease sale in Cook Inlet, after President Joe Biden signed an executive order indefinitely halting new leases.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was gearing up to solicit bids on 1 million acres in Cook Inlet’s federal waters later this year. But Biden said on Jan. 27 his administration wants to review the federal leasing program — one part of a broader order geared at combating climate change.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The federal government has released a draft environmental impact statement on an oil and gas lease sale in Cook Inlet, tentatively scheduled for late 2021.

BOEM is planning to solicit bids on over 1 million acres in the inlet’s federal waters, which includes anything more than three miles offshore. The agency first published its notice of intent in September and released the EIS draft Wednesday.

Some fishermen and conservationists say that wasn’t enough time.

It makes sense that the Alaska Food Hub has done so well this year. The virtual farmers market uses the same sort of online delivery system that brick and mortar stores have adopted during the pandemic. It was COVID-safe before COVID even came into being.

In 2020, the Food Hub tripled its sales. And famers are reaping the benefits.


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.

Calling all e-junk

Oct 1, 2020
Courtesy of Cook Inletkeeper

Cook Inletkeeper is holding its annual electronics recycling event at the landfill in Soldotna this Saturday. The event was postponed due to the pandemic — it usually takes place in May — but will otherwise function much like it does every year.

Volunteers will be wearing masks and encouraging social distancing when possible.

 There’s a real method to the way this store is arranged.

“As you go around the space, you’ll see all of these beautiful pieces of art that are really inspired by Alaska. I’m looking right now at some pieces of octopus and moose and polar bears and just all of these images that we love about Alaska,” said Ana Scollon, the store’s owner. “And then, as you move around the rest of the space, my hope is that as we think about all these wonderful things that we love about Alaska, we can also … basically change some of the things that we do to protect this space.”

This is The Goods, a Soldotna shop-to-be that sells zero-waste products and local art. It’s opening Oct. 17.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Alaskans pretty well know at this point that king salmon are in trouble. Biologists been looking into why for about a decade now, without a single smoking gun. And that seems to the way it’s going to be—no single answer.

A group of researchers led through the University of Alaska published a study this week probing a little more into the freshwater part of the lives of king salmon, also known as chinook. They focused on fifteen streams in the Cook Inlet basin, from the Chulitna in the north to the Anchor River in the south, to find some answers about how what happens in the freshwater affects king salmon survival. And, like other studies have shown, it’s complicated.

Kenai Change

Looking for a way to save the world? Here’s an idea: Feed chickens, not landfills.

OK, that’s maybe overly optimistic, but Kenai Change is finding that even a small project, like repurposing food scraps, can have a big impact. In October, the group started a community composting project to reduce the amount of organic waste going to the Soldotna landfill. The idea came out of a book-to-action series, which helped the group brainstorms ways the central Kenai Peninsula could help combat global warming.

The book, “Drawdown,” presents potential solutions, large and small, and the group used it as a way to research and plan what to work on locally. Kaitlin Vadla, with Cook Inletkeeper’s Community Action Studio in Soldotna, helped facilitate the program.

Edited salmon initiative OK'd for ballot

Aug 9, 2018

Backers of the ballot initiative touted to protect salmon habitat won a somewhat split decision in the Alaska Supreme Court Wednesday and it will appear on the November General Election ballot, though in edited form

The Stand for Salmon Initiative had been challenged by the Lt. Governor for making resource decisions via the ballot, which the Alaska Constitution prohibits. The Alaska Supreme Court, in a decision with one partial dissent, sent the case back to Superior Court with orders that the Lt. Governor be directed to place it on the ballot with two retractions.

Like a farmers' market online

Jul 31, 2017

The ever-increasing demand for fresh and organic food has fueled an explosion of community-supported agriculture around the nation.