Alaska uses Exxon Valdez settlement funds to preserve land
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska has bought 3 square miles (7.8 square kilometers) of land on an island north of Kodiak to preserve habitat for species affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
The state bought the land on the northwest coast of Afognak Island for $6.3 million through its Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported (http://bit.ly/2exV7zJ ) Friday.
The council has been purchasing land since the spill in 1989, using Exxon Valdez settlement funds as a way to preserve the habitats of wildlife that would be further affected by development or logging.
The newly acquired land is in the Thorsheim Lake drainage area, located on the shore of Paramanof Bay. It is home to marbled murrelets, bald eagles, sea otters, harbor seals, Kodiak bears and Roosevelt elk. A nearby stream and lake also support three species of salmon.
“For us, this is a wonderful project, because it’s rare that you can protect almost an entire watershed,” said Ellen Kazary, executive director of the Great Land Trust.
The land, which was purchased from Uyak Natives Inc., was scheduled to be logged until the state bought it.
Trans-Pac Alaska Limited Partnership had leased the timber from Uyak Natives and had already constructed a road to the edge of the property in preparation for logging operations, according to the Great Land Trust.
The company was due to begin logging in late 2017, Kazary said.
The state’s purchase includes both the surface property from Uyak Natives and the timber rights to the property from Trans-Pac.
Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com