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Culvert repair funds worth the investment

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Last Tuesday the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly heard arguments against funding a non-profit organization to repair culverts near anadromous stream crossings.

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The ordinance sought to fund the Kenai Watershed Forum with $100,000 for those culvert projects critical to fish migration.

Two residents testified against the ordinance, one of whom said the borough shouldn’t be giving money away to non-profit organizations.

Don’t listen.

While we could argue both sides of that sentiment, we have to remember what we are talking about here — not an organization receiving taxpayer funding for its own benefit, but rather an organization wanting to put our tax dollars to work at a 2-to-1 ratio.

Watershed Forum executive director Robert Ruffner explained that means residents will get $300,000 worth of work from a $100,000 investment, all of which will go toward borough land and not the organization.

Let’s not forget the bottom line — healthy fish. The Kenai Watershed Forum has a great track record and there is no other organization we’d rather have at the forefront of protecting our anadromous streams.

Spending $100,000 for the health of our fishery is a no-brainer. Even though it might not put more sockeye, coho or kings up the Kenai River next summer, everyone eventually benefits from a healthy, Peninsula-wide salmon run.

Sure, that is a good deal of money. But it’s an investment we’ll argue for every time.

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