Green Infrastructure in the Mat-Su Valley

Green InfrastructureI attended the Great Palmer Chamber of Commerce yesterday to hear Kathy Wells of the Friends of Mat-Su present the draft Green Infrastructure plan for the Mat-Su Valley.

Friends of Mat-Su
has been contracted by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to develop a green infrastructure plan for the core area of the valley. They are working hand-in-hand with the planning department of the borough to bring this plan to the assembly.

“Green Infrastructure” is a term used to incorporate environmental planning into the overall future infrastructure of the borough. They use “green infrastructure” as a term opposed to “grey infrastructure” which consists of roads, utilities, bridges, etc. The borough feels that “green infrastructure” is just as important in planning as is “grey infrastructure”.

Obviously, the core area is surrounded by Green Infrastructure and this is recognized in the plan. These areas are called green “super hubs”. They include the Palmer Hay Flats, Chugach Mountains, Matanuska Moose Range, Talkeetna Mountains, the Matanuska and Knik Rivers and numerous lakes and creeks. The Green Infrastructure Plans calls for creating green “mini-hubs” inside those “super hubs” and connecting them all together with green corridors so that animals and people can migrate between the hubs while staying in a green area.

One of the green “mini-hubs” is already recognized by many as a green zone. It is owned largely by the State of Alaska, the University of Alaska, and the Mat-Su Borough. This is the area surrounding the central landfill and Crevasse-Morraine Trail on the north, extending west to the Experimental Farm, and south to the Kepler/Bradley Lakes Recreation area. The other “mini-hubs” are mostly in areas of private land.

No restrictions on these areas are currently being discussed. The borough and Friends of Mat-Su are both saying that this is an educational effort at this time. But of course, if it is placed into the planning department at the borough, these educational guidelines will eventually have teeth.

Now is your chance to have input. These plans will come up for public review in the near future, if you are concerned about what you can do with your land if you live in a green zone you should pay attention.