JUNEAU, Alaska — The state of Alaska is challenging the constitutionality of a proposed ballot initiative aimed at protecting salmon habitat.

The state says it is appealing a court decision that called for allowing backers of the measure to begin gathering signatures.

The matter went to court after Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott last month refused to certify it, citing a Department of Law opinion.

The department maintained that the measure would limit the Legislature’s ability to decide how to allocate anadromous streams among competing uses and raised constitutional questions.

In a release, Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth says the state is taking no position on whether the proposal is good public policy. But she says it raises a constitutional issue that should be answered by the Alaska Supreme Court.