This report summarizes instream flow protection and related activities of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) in 2012. The status of reservation of water applications by other agencies and the private sector in Alaska is also presented.
Of the 512 applications received by Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from 1980 to 2012, ADF&G filed 185 river reaches and 4 lake applications and was granted certificates of reservations for 54 river reaches and 1 lake. In 2012, ADF&G filed 23 applications for river reaches and was granted certificates for 4 river reaches.
In 2002, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between ADF&G and DNR to assist with the increasing backlog of reservation of water applications needing adjudication and to improve the overall process. ADF&G and DNR have continued to effectively implement the 2002 MOU and similarly, ADF&G has continued to exceed the program goal of filing 10 reservations annually. From 2009 to 2012, an average of 15 and 7 applications were filed and granted, respectively. This is up from the 1998 to 2008 average of 3.7 and 1.5 applications filed and granted, respectively. Factors contributing to this improvement include: ADF&G and DNR leadership making reservations a priority, signing of the MOU which created the vision and framework for reducing the backlog, and experience and efficiencies gained by ADF&G and DNR staff implementing the MOU.
In 1986, ADF&G created the Statewide Aquatic Resources Coordination Unit (SARCU) within the Division of Sport Fish to address instream flow related activities. SARCU staff performed hydrologic investigations on eight projects in 2012. Investigations were generally performed to provide the necessary data to complete reservation of water applications. SARCU staff monitored 80 hydroelectric and hydrokinetic projects and served as ADF&G’s representative for the Alaska Clean Waters Actions (ACWA) program. ACWA funded 14 projects from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.