Draft Management Plan for Bristol Bay Critical Habitat Areas

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comment through July 8 on a Bristol Bay critical habitat areas draft management plan addressing five critical habitat areas: Egegik, Pilot Point, Cinder River, Port Heiden and Port Moller, located on the north side of the Alaska Peninsula. The management plan will apply to state lands and waters and private lands within the critical habitat area boundaries. ADF&G will use the plan and subsequent regulations to authorize appropriate activities in the critical habitat areas through special area permitting. The five critical habitat areas include the major estuaries along the southern shore of Bristol Bay.

The primary purpose of the critical habitat areas is to protect and preserve habitat areas especially crucial to the perpetuation of fish and wildlife, particularly waterfowl, and to restrict uses not compatible with that primary purpose.

This is the second draft plan distributed for public review. This draft addresses comments received during the initial March 2010 public review, and provides guidance for managing activities on private lands within the critical habitat areas. The draft plan presents management goals for the critical habitat areas and identifies policies to be used in determining which activities are compatible with the protection of fish and wildlife, their habitats, and public use of these areas.

It includes proposed policies on access and use of resources in these areas and a list of proposed regulations for implementing the plan. Proposed regulations may be revised prior to adoption based on public comment and any subsequent changes to management plan policies. ADF&G will conduct a separate regulatory review for these regulations after the management plan is finalized later this year.

Copies of the draft plan are available on the department website at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=bristolbay.draftplan and at ADF&G offices in Anchorage, Juneau, King Salmon, Cold Bay, and Kodiak. Written comments may be submitted via email, to dfg.hab.specialarea@alaska.gov or via postal service to: Bristol Bay CHAs Management Plan, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Habitat. 333 Raspberry Road, Anchorage, AK 99518-1565.