• Chapter 6: Vegetation

      Berman, Matthew; DeVelice, Robert; Hollingsworth, Teresa Nettleton; Bella, Elizabeth; Carlson, Matthew L.; Clark, Paul; Barrett, Tara; Hayward, Gregory D.; Lundquist, John; Magness, Dawn Robin; et al. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2016)
      This assessment evaluates the effects of future climate change on a select set of ecological systems and ecosystem services in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and Chugach National Forest regions. The focus of the assessment was established during a multi-agency/organization workshop that established the goal to conduct a rigorous evaluation of a limited range of topics rather than produce a broad overview. The report explores the potential consequences of climate change for: (a) snowpack, glaciers, and winter recreation; (b) coastal landscapes and associated environments, (c) vegetation, (d) salmon, and (e) a select set of wildlife species. During the next half century, directional change associated with warming temperatures and increased precipitation will result in dramatic reductions in snow cover at low elevations, continued retreat of glaciers, substantial changes in the hydrologic regime for an estimated 8.5 percent of watersheds, and potentially an increase in the abundance of pink salmon. In contrast to some portions of the Earth, apparent sealevel rise is likely to be low for much of the assessment region owing to interactions between tectonic processes and sea conditions. Shrubs and forests are projected to continue moving to higher elevations, reducing the extent of alpine tundra and potentially further affecting snow levels. Opportunities for alternative forms of outdoor recreation and subsistence activities that include sled-dog mushing, hiking, hunting, and travel using across-snow vehicles will change as snowpack levels, frozen soils, and vegetation change over time. There was a projected 66-percent increase in the estimated value of human structures (e.g. homes, businesses) that are at risk to fire in the next half century on the Kenai Peninsula, and a potential expansion of invasive plants, particularly along roads, trails, and waterways.
    • Fiscal and Economic Analysis of Homer Town Square Proposed Development Alternatives

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
      This report presents a fiscal and economic analysis of potential development within the Homer Town Square area. We first consider current land use patterns and tax revenues. We then estimate the fiscal and economic effects of a development scenario provided by Christopher Beck and Associates. Fiscal effects are measured by property and sales tax revenue. Economic effects are measured by employment within Homer. Finally, we report empirical results from a broad national sample of similar efforts to promote economic development and quality of life through improvements to downtown areas and commercial centers. The “existing trends” scenario attempts to account for trends and events that are likely occur in the absence of specific new development initiatives in the study area. The “town square” scenario accounts for changes that will happen with the focused development of a town square development initiative. The difference between the two scenarios in a variable of interest – such as property taxes -- is the effect that we can reasonably attribute to the town square development itself. Commercial taxable sales within the study area increase over 5 years to become about 50% higher in 2008 under the town square scenario, yielding about $1.2 million in additional sales tax revenue to Homer and an additional $680,000 of additional sales tax revenue to the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Property taxes from the study area increase by 2008 to a level 35% higher than under existing trends, yielding an additional $79,000 in property tax revenue to the city and an additional $133,000 in property tax revenues to the borough, college, and hospital.
    • Kenai Peninsula Natural Gas Study: Final Report

      Foster, Mark; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1995)
      A very large industrial facility such as the proposed Midrex iron ore reduction facility would make a pipeline economically feasible, but the resulting cost of gas to consumers would still be about twice the level of current Enstar rates, due to higher local distribution costs. Also, under this scenario customers along the pipeline route would not automatically have access to cheap gas unless they were clustered in groups of at least 10 people within about one mile of the connection to the main line. This study examines the economics of bringing natural gas to Homer, Seward, and intermediate points along the Sterling Highway. We conclude that natural gas delivered by pipeline to Homer or Seward from the existing Enstar system will remain uneconomical or marginally competitive with diesel under plausible assumptions about economic growth. That's because both Homer and Seward have very small numbers of customers compared to the cost of a pipeline necessary to reach either community.