Kenai Watershed Forum

  The Kenai City Council on Wednesday night passed a $16-point-5 million General Fund budget, which covers the basic operation of the city. Another $14 million is appropriated from the city’s various other funds, such as the airport, senior center and capital project funds for their respective operations.

For a time during Wednesday night’s Kenai City Council meeting, the passage of funds to pay for water quality testing in the Kenai River this summer was uncertain. Council members felt burned by press reports last year that there was an elevated level of bacteria levels on the beaches during the dipnet season, and they blamed the Kenai Watershed Forum, which is the contractor hired to collect the water samples.

Councilman Jim Glendening explained.

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.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

To an early homesteader or, especially, native Alaskans before that, there’s been a whole lot of stuff built on the Kenai the past 70 or so years. And not all of it was done with an eye toward what would be best for both humans and wildlife habitat. But we’re learning.

 

 


John Reed/USGS

 

The salmon run has gone from red to silver, but some summer projects are still being wrapped up on the Kenai River. The Kenai Watershed Forum will conduct its last sample of the season Friday, searching for bacteria and their sources in the river.

 

 


Jenny Neyman/KDLL

The Kasilof River has been open to dip-netting since June 25. Newly expanded facilities and parking area on the north shore of the river mouth means easier access for dip-netters. Easier access means more visitors. And more people can mean more trash left behind.

That’s where the Stream Watch program comes in.

“If you’d like you can grab a bag and help yourself to cleaning up the roads or a little bit of the beach and the parking lot,” said Terese Schomogyi, a summer intern with the Kenai Watershed Forum’s Stream Watch program, which organizes volunteers to do restoration, protection and education programs along sensitive sections of waterways on the Kenai Peninsula.


On the Kenai Peninsula, salmon are king. Whether they’re king salmon or one of the other species of salmonid that populate our fresh waters. And that’s why when there’s a biologic danger to their existence, people go into high gear to try and protect them.

Take invasive species for example. About 20 years ago, northern pike were illegally introduced into Kenai Peninsula lakes by persons unknown. And they thrived, just like they do elsewhere in Alaska where they naturally occur. But here on the Kenai, the pike’s success came at a cost - the lives of baby salmon.

Kenai Watershed Forum

Summer camp, river clean ups, Stream Watch and River Fest. Summer is a busy time at the Kenai Watershed Forum.

Kenai Watershed Forum

 

School may be out for summer, but that doesn’t mean science education takes a break. The Kenai Watershed Forum’s annual summer camp gets underway June 11th.

Kenai Watershed Forum

 

Submission of a state water quality report to the federal government is on hold again. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s integrated water quality and assessment is overdue by five years.