Business Briefs

UAF professor honored

for peony research

The Alaska Peony Growers Association has given University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Mingchu Zhang its Growers Cup Award for his research supporting the peony industry.

Members of the statewide association gave Zhang the annual award during its winter conference, which ended Sunday at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel.

Ron and Marji Illingworth, North Pole peony growers and conference chairs, said growers vote on the award, which is given to an individual who provides key support to the peony industry. Zhang has presented regularly at the conference on his research relating to plant nutrition, fertilizer and soils needed for optimum peony growth. He gave a presentation this year on peony micronutrient deficiencies and leaf color.

“He’s been very much connected with us for quite a few years,” said Ron Illingworth.

UAF Emeritus Horticulture Professor Pat Holloway, the first recipient of the award, said Zhang is a dedicated researcher who has written and participated in several grants that have helped “decipher the complexities of plant nutrition for peonies.”

“He’s worked one-on-one with growers from Fairbanks to Homer,” she said.

Zhang is a professor of agronomy and soil sciences with the School of Natural Resources and Extension. His research has focused on nutrient management, soils, and peony, forage and agronomic field crop production.

Illingworth said more than 125 people attended the conference, which focused on growing and marketing peonies. Most were Alaska growers or individuals considering growing peonies, but the three-day conference also drew growers from California, New York, Oregon, Washington and Arkansas.

Refuge accepting applications for services

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is currently soliciting applications for competitively issued special use permits to provide guided sportfishing services on the Upper Kenai River. A “Prospectus and Request for Proposal to Conduct Commercial Sport Fishing Services within Areas of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge” is now available for review and submission of proposals.

Interested parties will have over 180 days to submit proposals. Prospective permittees must submit two copies of a written proposal by Aug. 1. Selection of successful applicants will be announced in December 2017. A total of up to 19 permits will be awarded to selected applicants through this process. Permits are issued for a five-year period, with potential for re-issuance for an additional five years.

Interested parties are encouraged to call Matt Conner at 907-260-2834 with any questions. Requests for a prospectus can be sent to the Refuge Manager, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge or by email at kenai@fws.gov or found online at the following link, https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/FINAL_UpperKenaiRiverFish_Prospectus2017.pdf.

Prospectuses will also be available at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, located on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna.

Firefighting Symposium to take place in Homer

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council is hosting the ninth Marine Firefighting Symposium for Land-Based Firefighters on May 12-14 in Homer. This three-day conference is an industry recognized effort to provide the best available marine firefighting information and practices to shore-based firefighters, using both classroom and field experiences.

The primary focus of the symposium is to raise awareness and increase safety in the event of a shipboard fire related to the oil tankers and other vessels associated with the transportation of oil in Prince William Sound. Some of the topics to be covered during the symposium will include interpretation of ship fire plans, firefighter coordination with ship’s crew, basics of vessel stability, ship awareness, vessel familiarization, coordination of private and public responses, politics of a marine incident, an update on implementation of U.S. Coast Guard salvage and marine firefighting regulations and an introduction to oil shipping. Numerous hands-on and field activities will allow community firefighters to work with marine industry salvage and firefighting contractors.

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