Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office is seeking input from coastal Alaskans on a sweeping set of draft policy proposals to invest in the state’s ports and harbors.
The initiative is called the Working Waterfronts Framework – Murkowski said it’s in a crowd-sourcing phase.
“So, there’s not actual text and legislation, we are in the information gathering – we want to hear feedback,” said Murkowski.
The framework is broad and outlines more than a dozen areas for potential investment – including more funding for projects that aren’t big enough to qualify for federal grants.
“In so many of these communities, you’ve got small ports and harbors, so they’re not eligible for these big federal grants,” Murkowski said. “So, what can we put in place to help get a small boat haul out, a laydown yard, [or] boat ramps?”
The framework also includes ideas like increased investment in workforce development for maritime trades and for newer industries, like mariculture. It also calls for more ocean research and community monitoring programs.
Other proposals include developing a crop-insurance type program, similar to what’s used by farmers to protect against agricultural losses, for fisheries – and updating the existing fisheries disaster program to better account for subsistence users.
Murkowski’s office released the Working Waterfront Framework ahead of the fisheries debates in Kodiak last week. Members of the public can submit comments on the proposals – or their own ideas – until December 2 by emailing email@example.com.
Murkowski plans to introduce legislation from the Working Waterfront Framework in the next congressional session.