Koyukuk water lockup

To the editor: On Sept. 24, the Department of Natural Resources published a notice of a proposed water rights reservation on behalf of the Department of Fish and Game for the Koyukuk River. They provided a table of requested flows throughout the year with a maximum requested flow of 63,000 cubic feet per second in June and a minimum flow of 460 cfs in April. DNR proposed correspondingly lower flows of 42,800 cfs and 400 cfs. This summer’s peak flow was 8,000 cfs.

If this water rights request is permitted, it will lock up any other water use in the entire 80-mile Koyukuk basin. If the fish can survive on 400 cfs, why do they need 42,800 cfs? Any large mining interest has to do an environmental impact statement showing minimum impact on the fish within the environment. Isn’t this the appropriate way to protect our fish resource?

Please write Meghan.obrien2@alaska.gov as an interested party to require Fish and Game to do the same amount of homework as any mining interest has to do before they needlessly lock up our resources. Comments close Oct 9.



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