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Rick Sinnott

Despite growing public awareness and resistance to the idea, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is revising its management plans and regulations for the state’s 32 wildlife refuges, sanctuaries and critical habitat areas. The revisions will facilitate development, including potentially incompatible uses.

Existing plans and regulations protect critical habitats, comprising less than 1 percent of Alaska, set aside by the Alaska Legislature for the purpose of maintaining fish and wildlife populations. Unlike parks, a wide range of human uses, including oil and gas development, are allowed in special areas as long as the use is compatible with protecting fish, wildlife and their habitats...

Rick Sinnott

The thousands of miles of highways and streets in Anchorage are designed to make travel more efficient and convenient. For humans. But every mile of road is making it damned inconvenient to be a moose.

The proposed connection of Bragaw Street and Elmore Road through the University-Medical (U-Med) District is a case in point. Only seven-tenths of a mile long, the road will include three overpasses to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and skiers.

But any moose attempting to perambulate through the district after the road is built will encounter another gauntlet of urban traffic. Its pedestrian overpasses aren’t designed to accommodate moose...

Rick Sinnott

Ah, the sounds of fish camp. Waves slapping the shore. Deb’s 4:30 a.m. wakeup holler, “Let’s go fishin’!” The sputter of an outboard motor. The rattle and thump of gillnet floats going over the bow. The rhythm and rhymes of a good poem.

The Kasilof River personal-use setnet fishery will never be the same.

The folks I fish with are typical Alaskans. Four couples joined forces at the mouth of the Kasilof River this year. All of us are readers, although I suspect I’m the only one who reads poetry as a matter of course. I’m a writer. It’s an occupational hazard...

Rick Sinnott

A kettle lake surrounded by homes in west Anchorage, Sand Lake has become a battleground in the war on invasive species. Opposing forces concur that elodea, an aquatic plant commonly used in aquariums, is present in the lake. However, both sides are far from agreement on whether elodea is a non-native, invasive weed in Alaska.

A recently released plan drafted by the Anchorage Soil and Water Conservation District concludes that elodea is native to Alaska, or at least that evidence to the contrary isn't persuasive. The document, entitled "Sand Lake Aquatic Vegetation Management & Lake Restoration Plan," recommends controlling, not eradicating, the plant and offers several management options.

Weapons of mass destruction...

Rick Sinnott

A kettle lake surrounded by homes in west Anchorage, Sand Lake has become a battleground in the war on invasive species. Opposing forces concur that Elodea, an aquatic plant commonly used in aquariums, is present in the lake. However, both sides are far from agreement on whether Elodea is a non-native, invasive weed in Alaska...

Rick Sinnott

Another mysterious incident -- Alaska’s version of cattle mutilation -- has prompted a resolution from a municipal advisory commission. Instead of cattle, the victims are moose. Instead of surgical incisions and organ removal, the moose are impaled on metal palisade fences.

The mystery is not how the moose die. No need to invoke unidentified flying objects or alien abductions. The mystery is why most owners of these fences aren’t doing anything to fix the problem...

Rick Sinnott

Another mysterious incident -- Alaska's version of cattle mutilation -- has prompted a resolution from a municipal advisory commission. Instead of cattle, the victims are moose. Instead of surgical incisions and organ removal, the moose are impaled on metal palisade fences.

The mystery is not how the moose die. No need to invoke unidentified flying objects or alien abductions. The mystery is why most owners of these fences aren't doing anything to fix the problem...

Rick Sinnott

Alaska is no stranger to predator control. In a concerted effort to reduce their numbers, the state’s 7,000 to 11,000 wolves have been poisoned and shot from airplanes in addition to being hunted and trapped for the better part of a century. But a much more lethal predator has been overlooked.

Anchorage has 74,000 pet cats, based on national data compiled by the American Veterinary Medical Association. That figure doesn’t include feral cats. Animal Control doesn’t know how many feral cats live within the municipality. National estimates suggest relatively high numbers, at least thousands in a community the size of Anchorage. Some people would like to see more...

Rick Sinnott

Alaska is no stranger to predator control. In a concerted effort to reduce their numbers, the state’s 7,000 to 11,000 wolves have been poisoned and shot from airplanes in addition to being hunted and trapped for the better part of a century. But a much more lethal predator has been overlooked.

Anchorage has 74,000 pet cats, based on national data compiled by the American Veterinary Medical Association. That figure doesn’t include feral cats. Animal Control doesn’t know how many feral cats live within the municipality. National estimates suggest relatively high numbers, at least thousands in a community the size of Anchorage. Some people would like to see more...

Rick Sinnott

It's Mother's Day, which means it's nearly time for the first moose calves to be born.

Every spring for 17 years, while I was a wildlife biologist in Anchorage, I tried to find a cow moose with newborn calves before Mother's Day so I could lead a newspaper photographer to them. Moose calves are so adorable, I figured the photo would run on the front page where everyone would see it.

I hoped the photograph would serve a dual purpose. It would pay homage to mothers, an expression of esteem with an Alaska theme. But it would also function as a subtle reminder that cow moose were going to be a lot more dangerous for the next few months. Most Alaskans know cow moose can be aggressive in defense of their young...

Rick Sinnott

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