“The purpose of the five-year $450,000 effort will be to document biological, chemical, and physical changes as influenced by Buskin River discharge to outer St. Paul Harbor, near Kodiak,” the tribe said in a statement.
The statement added that the “Buskin River Marine Zone Study,” reached with the Sun’aq Tribe, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities will be “especially focused on salmon habitat and human usage.”
“The study is in part, to mitigate for loss of fish habitat and other adverse impacts predicted from Kodiak Airport runway extension work beginning this summer,” the statement said.
It also said that Alaska DOT plans call for extending two runways — one of which will be extended some 600-feet seaward.
After government consultations in early 2014, the Sun’aq Tribe reports that an agreement was made between FAA and the tribe that called for additional runway project mitigation before and after runway construction. The study costs would be covered by FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, passed through to Alaska DOT.
Initial results gathered from the study will begin appearing on the Sun’aq website by mid-2016, and a final report will be available by June 2019.
The data and report will be available to all Kodiak residents.
“Local resource managers may use the information to help improve Buskin River outlet habitat conditions if deemed appropriate at that time,” the statement said.
The Buskin River is the most important subsistence and sport-fish resource on Kodiak Island for tribal and non-tribal members alike.
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