Burned timber

On a riverbank, green ferns can be seen growing amongst blackened trees burned in the Twin Creeks Fire on borough-owned land in Chiniak. The orange mark on the tree in the background is roughly 100 feet away from the stream, roughly the boundary around anadromous streams to protect them. May 18, 2016. Julie Herrmann/Kodiak Daily Mirror

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly voted 5-1 to purchase tree saplings for planting in the burned and logged area at Chiniak.

The lone vote of opposition was Dennis Symmons. He has said in the past he would prefer the borough look into the potential for development of the land.

The contract with Koncor Forest Products is for just over $120,000 for 300,000 Sitka spruce saplings.

The borough will put out for bid a contract to plant the trees.

The assembly seemed to support planting cottonwood trees around the streams, as recommended by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, to improve the fish habitat.

“It’s really intended to provide the benefits to the anadromous streams until the replanted forest can succeed and these other species can get a foothold,” said borough resource management officer Duane Dvorak. “Eventually, some of these cottonwoods would be pushed out in favor of other species, but this is a stopgap placeholder to provide that benefit to that salmon stream while the other species can recolonize.”

Those particular saplings would be taken as cuttings from existing trees in Kodiak, so staff is looking into a potential third contract, possibly to local organizations, to collect the saplings.

In other business, the assembly forwarded to the next meeting and public hearing an ordinance to make changes to borough code Title 18 for a future land sale.

The three big changes are intended to push land out and get it developed. These are increasing the value limit on land for sale, giving a 10 percent rebate on land that has a home built and occupied within three years, and disallowing anyone from buying who owes the borough money or has a breach of contract with the borough.

Borough manager Michael Powers said the ordinance would have a few changes, removing the breach of contract language and moving certain items within the ordinance around, at the next meeting, and staff would provide a substitute ordinance with those changes and ask the assembly to amend the ordinance with the substitution.

The ordinance passed in the first reading 5-1 with assembly member Frank Peterson the lone no vote. He said it doesn’t go far enough to create affordable housing and provide opportunities for land and home ownership to people with little money.

Contact staff reporter Julie Herrmann at julie@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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