Category Archives: Salmon

Tell Senator Murkowski that we want salmon stream protections today

We are passing this on from our friends at Alaska Wilderness League.

Southeast Alaskans have been working together for years to chart a new course for the Tongass National Forest – one that supports the region’s economy and the region’s unique quality of life.  In less than a few months, this work will be complete… unless Senator Murkowski succeeds at delaying this great progress.

Murkowski is attempting to amend a very popular bill – one that would better fund the fighting of wildfires – with language that would stop the adoption of the new management plan developed by a diverse set of stakeholders including – the timber industry, government officials, and conservationists.

Please follow the link below to add your voice to a message to Senator Murkowski:

Tell Senator Murkowski that we want salmon stream protections today

President Obama declares waters in and near Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas leasing- ADN

From Alaska Dispatch, by Lisa Demer, December 16, 2014

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News

President Obama on Tuesday declared Bristol Bay “a beautiful natural wonder” and designated its salmon-rich waters indefinitely off limits for oil and gas leasing.

Environmentalists say the move provides significant protection not just for the iconic Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, but for crab, herring, halibut and groundfish, including the lucrative pollock fishery. And salmon returning to the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers pass through the waters that had been considered for drilling.

“Hey, everybody,” President Obama said in a videotaped message posted Tuesday on YouTube. “Earlier today I took action to make sure that one of America’s greatest natural resources and a massive economic engine not only for Alaska but for America, Bristol Bay, is preserved for future generations.”

Some 40 percent of the nation’s wild-caught seafood comes from Bristol Bay, and its waters have supported Alaska Native people for centuries, the president said.

“It’s something that’s too precious for us to just be putting out to the highest bidder,” Obama said.

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News

 

EPA has full authority in AK- Letter by Vic Van Ballenberghe

The following was submitted as a Letter to the Editor to Anchorage Daily News by Vic Van Ballenberghe. It’s worth repeating here:

Senator Cathy Giessel (Alaska decisions should be in Alaskans’ hands, ADN 2/15) claims that the EPA and the federal government have no authority to scientifically evaluate proposed harm caused by development of Pebble Mine. As a state lawmaker she should know that EPA has full authority to evaluate this project under the provisions of the federal Clean Water Act. And if the best available scientific evidence indicates the mine will violate provisions of federal laws, EPA has full authority to prevent development.

Giessel labels the mine as “an imaginary resource development project.” Apparently, it potentially threatens one of Alaska’s largest “imaginary” salmon fisheries that sustainably supports thousands of “imaginary” fisheries jobs. Giessel also states that our state’s permitting process sets “the global standard for environmental protection.” Those of us who have witnessed the past two decades of progressively weakened resource permitting regulations would disagree.

It’s been said that Pebble is the wrong mine in the wrong place at the wrong time. Should we trust state legislators or the EPA to scientifically determine if development of the mine is wrong or right?

EPA releases Bristol Bay Assessment describing potential impacts to salmon and water from copper, gold mining

From the US Environmental Protection Agency, January 15th, 2014

(Seattle – Jan. 15, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released its final Bristol Bay Assessment describing potential impacts to salmon and ecological resources from proposed large-scale copper and gold mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The report, titled “An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska,” concludes that large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed poses risks to salmon and Alaska Native cultures. Bristol Bay supports the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, producing nearly 50 percent of the world’s wild sockeye salmon with runs averaging 37.5 million fish each year. 

“Over three years, EPA compiled the best, most current science on the Bristol Bay watershed to understand how large-scale mining could impact salmon and water in this unique area of unparalleled natural resources,” said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10. “Our report concludes that large-scale mining poses risks to salmon and the tribal communities that have depended on them for thousands of years. The assessment is a technical resource for governments, tribes and the public as we consider how to address the challenges of large-scale mining and ecological protection in the Bristol Bay watershed.” …

Read more at EPA web site

Read the Executive Summary and Full Report at EPA web site

Mining a significant risk to Bristol Bay salmon fishery, EPA says – ADN story

BY BECKY BOHRER Associated Press January 15, 2014

JUNEAU — A government report indicates a large-scale copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region could have devastating effects on the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and adversely affect Alaska Natives whose culture is built around salmon.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday released its final assessment of the impact of mining in the Bristol Bay region. Its findings are similar to those of an earlier draft report, concluding that, depending on the size of the mine, up to 94 miles of streams would be destroyed in the mere build-out of the project, including losses of between 5 and 22 miles of streams known to provide salmon spawning and rearing habitat. Up to 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds and lakes also would be lost due to the mine footprint.

The report concludes that “large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed poses significant near- and long-term risk to salmon, wildlife and Native Alaska cultures,” EPA regional administrator Dennis McLerran said in a conference call with reporters.