Council Board of Directors met in Whittier

The Council’s Board of Directors met in Whittier on Thursday and Friday, September 14 and 15. Topics on the agenda included: Presentations by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the council regarding the change in Alyeska’s marine services contract provider from Crowley Marine Services to Edison Chouest Offshore set to take place July 1, 2018. These services include key oil spill prevention and response assets such as escort tugs, oil recovery barges and associated personnel for service in Prince William Sound. A presentation by council staff and contractors Nuka Research and Planning Group and Little River Marine Consultants on recommended modeling, field demonstrations and training to be conducted as part of the transition from Crowley Marine Services to Edison Chouest Offshore. A presentation by council staff on the status of amendments to the Prince William Sound Tanker Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan and Alyeska’s Valdez Marine Terminal Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan. A report of the council’s monitoring of drills and exercises in 2016. A panel discussion regarding a recent Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council study on the status of Prince William Sound herring and its conclusions, along with other recent research. Print PDF … Continue reading

Davin Holen: Social scientist uses knowledge of subsistence fisheries to help communities adapt to changing environments

At 17, Davin Holen left his home in the woods outside of Wasilla, Alaska, to travel the world. He lived and studied in South America and Europe for several years before joining the Peace Corps, where he ended up in Mali, West Africa, living in a small mud hut on the edge of the Sierra Desert with his wife, Cara. “No running water, no electricity. It was like camping in the desert for two and a half years,” Holen says. Holen’s experience in Africa sparked a curiosity about human culture that has turned into his life’s work. “I was really interested in people’s interactions with the environment, especially in a subsistence economy.” He realized that even though he grew up in Alaska, he did not know much about the cultures in his home state. He returned from Africa and enrolled in the Master’s program at the University of Alaska Anchorage in Applied Cultural Anthropology. The department was brand new, and Holen was its first graduate. After earning his degree, he went to work for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Subsistence, working his way up from an internship to program manager over 15 years. Holen assessed subsistence harvests all over the state, from Southeast Alaska to the Arctic. He tried to understand and document these fisheries, in order to anticipate problems that could arise, so he could find ways to address upcoming expected needs. Print PDF … Continue reading

Community Corner: Local government is an important conduit for sharing information and concerns

By Lisa Matlock Outreach Coordinator The Council’s staff and volunteers have visited with many Southcentral Alaska city councils and managers, tribal councils, borough assemblies, and state legislators this year. The upcoming marine services contract for tug and barge services in Prince William Sound will soon change, and this event alone has driven a great deal of interest in the Council’s mission from communities all over the Exxon Valdez oil spill region. There have also been oil spill planning policy changes that could affect communities, about which the Council has helped share information. Local government continues to be one of the most important places for the Council to focus on issues that require public comment and scoping. Policy changes regarding community access to decision-makers, a new chemical dispersant use plan for Alaska that includes a preauthorized zone, and upcoming geographical changes to oil spill planning are just a few of the important policies that communities have had the chance to weigh in on this year. Often these issues are technical enough that local RCACs and governments may be a citizen’s ultimate voice for commenting on the issue. Local governments work regularly with permitting issues and zoning that lend themselves to commenting about similar policy changes the Council tackles in the oil spill prevention and response world. Print PDF … Continue reading