Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Guest editorial:Habitat partnership puts focuses on fish

Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership is a conservation partnership developing on the Kenai Peninsula. This partnership is working with the National Fish Habitat Action Plan to protect, restore and enhance our area’s fish and aquatic communities.

KPFHP is one of several partnerships developed concurrently with the National Fish Habitat Plan, designed to raise awareness of fish initiatives, assign priorities and generate annual congressional support to improve aquatic habitat. National Fish Habitat Action Plan is all about locally driven efforts that build private and public partnerships to improve fish habitat. Fish Habitat Action Plan partnerships are self-identified, self-organized and self-directed communities of interest formed around geographic areas, keystone species or system types.

These partnerships are nonregulatory and voluntary; locally and regionally based; driven by grassroots partners; focused on protection, restoration and enhancement in key watersheds; science-based; linked nationally; sustainable and accountable; and nonallocative.

The KPFHP began with a letter from the National Fish Habitat Action Plan Board accepting our request to be considered a regional partner. Since that time, an ad hoc committee representing various interests has come together to begin working on a strategic plan addressing the needs of fish habitat across a “region.” The group has conducted several public outreach meetings across the Kenai Peninsula and will continue to seek input throughout the development of the strategic plan. Developing this plan under the guidance provided by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan is our first step in being accepted as a regional partner. We anticipate this process continuing through May of 2009 and will be updated regularly under the strategic plan section of the Web site, http://office.kenaiwatershed.org/KPFHP.

Working to protect fish habitat on the Kenai Peninsula should be a goal all interests could and should support.

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