National Marine Fisheries Service / National Marine Fisheries Service

Temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska are on the upswing again, which could be bad news for fish and other marine animals.

Last summer saw scorching temperatures across Alaska, including breaking the 90-degree mark on the Fourth of July in Southcentral. The ocean hangs onto abnormal temperatures for some time, leading to sea surface temperature anomalies and can have negative impacts on fish populations.

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.

Anna DeVolld

Busy as a bee, is how the saying goes.

In Anna DeVolld’s case, it’s busy on behalf of bees. The ninth-grade Soldotna homeschooler has been pouring her heart and time into a Promote Our Pollinators project to offer education about the importance of pollinators, increase their numbers and inspire the next generation to be good stewards of the environment.

“I love gardening. It’s one of my favorite things to do. And one day I was looking at my sunflowers and there was this clump of bees on there and I wondered, ‘Why were they there and what were they doing?’ So I did some research and I just fell in love with pollinators,” Anna said.

DeVolld placed third in the 2019 Caring for the Kenai competition and last week was announced as the President’s Environmental Youth Award winner for Region 10 of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I was super honored and, really, this was a community award. My idea started with Caring for the Kenai and the community has really embraced it,” she said.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly passed a resolution at its meeting Tuesday, promoting the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Assemblymen Willie Dunne was one of the resolution sponsors.

“To increase awareness that we need to protect our fisheries, our wildlife, our wild areas, I think this is just one little tool in increasing awareness and, as somebody else said, being good stewards for the Earth,” Dunne said.

Carrie Henson, of Kalifornsky, called in to the Zoom meeting to talk about the correlation of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

“From how quickly our air quality around the world has improved with everyone hunkering down to how our state’s dependence on oil has put us in grave economic jeopardy, as oil prices go into the negative. A window into the future of when oil is no longer a resource we can rely on,” Henson said.

Jan Wallace, with the recycling organization ReGroup, called in to say that individual Earth Day efforts are still encouraged, even if group activities had to be canceled due to the pandemic.

“You can have a cleanup in your area, especially of plastic, which is damaging our wildlife. If you take pictures of an area before and after your cleanup, post it to hashtag trashtag,” Wallace said.

Kenai Conversation: Stream Watch turns 25

Jan 4, 2019

Unfortunately, the Kenai Peninsula's healthiest river systems don't stay that way on their own. A key component to keeping rivers in good shape for fish and for us has been the Stream Watch program. Since 1994, Stream Watch volunteers have donated time to not only keeping things clean, but informing visitors of the right way to enjoy a day on the river.