KIB Assembly to Discuss Fisheries Analyst, Twin Creeks Fire Recovery

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

This is a week of many meetings for the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly, who have been discussing everything from the aftermath of the fire in Chiniak to the future of its joint city and borough fisheries analyst.

Wednesday the assembly will participate in a joint council and assembly work session to continue the conversation about how long to extend its contract with their fisheries analyst, Heather McCarty. While the city council has been adamant about a minimum one-year contract extension, assembly members have been more uncertain. Some, like Assemblyman Mel Stephens, said McCarty failed to complete all the terms of her contract. For instance, at an assembly regular meeting, Stephens said he hasn’t seen her provide a quarterly report, although Borough Manager Bud Cassidy says she is doing monthly reports.

Following disagreement among assembly members on a longer fisheries analyst contract, the assembly offered McCarty a six-month extension instead. Cassidy says the contract calls for two one-year period extensions, and McCarty said she prefers to stick with that agreement.

“I think this next six months is gonna be spent on the kinds of deliverables that the council representatives and assembly representatives are wanting and really sort of tightening up on the contract, and I think her concern was you can spend six months doing that when really the issues really are with the council coming to Kodiak this June.”

Cassidy means the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Kodiak Fisheries Work Group and Fisheries Analyst have worked together to make sure Kodiak has had a presence and a voice at those meetings. Cassidy also points out that Kodiak representative Duncan Fields holds a seat on the council, and Fields’ term ends this summer, which also may contribute to the council’s decision to hold its meeting in Kodiak. The fisheries analyst contract will be up for discussion at the work session, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the library.

The assembly will participate in another meeting Saturday afternoon in Chiniak to discuss the trees in that area which were burned in the Twin Creeks fire. Cassidy says the Borough Assembly awarded a contract to Joe Staley of NorthWind Forest Consultants to do a survey of the property, and Staley will attend the meeting.

“So, he’ll be doing a presentation on the fact that those trees actually have been damaged tremendously during the fire and really what’s left if we’re gonna do anything is talk about salvaging those trees, and the assembly is gonna be looking at options for salvage. And when I say salvage, I mean removing dead trees under contract.”

He says logging may be the best method to help that area recover.

“The issue is, if you don’t log them, you just allow nature to take its course, and that means there’s probably fall hazards. There’s not really tremendous seed stock to reforest that area. If you salvaged them by cutting them down, you’re required under state law to replant.”

Chiniak’s community library / tsunami evacuation center was also burned during the fire. Cassidy says the borough assembly will address options for building a new structure.

“If they build it in the same place, in the same configuration, the insurance company will pay 100 percent of those costs. If we move it, like, say down to the school, the insurance company will pay for the same building, but won’t pay for any additional things, like utilities, a septic system, or a driveway or something like that.”

If you want to attend the meeting to discuss that issue and more, it’ll begin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Chiniak School.

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