Quantcast

Take Action to Protect Bristol Bay and Largest Wild Salmon Fisheries on Earth

Energy

Pebble mine is considered by many to be one of the most controversial environmental issues. Northern Dynasty, a Canadian based company, is proposing an open pit copper and gold mine to extract one of the largest deposits in North America in the pristine Bristol Bay, Alaska watershed.

Aerial shot of the pristine Bristol Bay, the watershed that is being threatened by the proposed mine. Photo credit: Tosh Brown

The problem with its location is that it would threaten one of the world’s largest remaining wild sockeye salmon habitats. Accounting for 46 percent of world's wild sockeye salmon, this year’s run total was recorded at 38 million salmon returning to Bristol Bay.

An Alaskan renewable resource, sockeye salmon which inhabits the Bristol Bay Watershed and accounts for one of the world's largest salmon fishery. Photo credit: Jim Klug

These salmon runs support 14,000 fishing jobs including Pebble mine is considered by many to be one of the most controversial environmental issues. Northern Dynastyg both sport and commercial fishing that have been sustainable for 125 years. Besides the fishing jobs, fishing is a way of life for the Alaskan natives in the area, which is how they are able to feed their families and villages.

First king salmon of the season. Photo credit: U.S. EPA

In addition to threatening salmon habitat, the mine could potentially damage 90 miles of streams and 4,800 acres of wetlands. These streams and wetlands not only affect the salmon but all the different species that interact in the Bristol Bay ecosystem. The proposed mine volume would be the approximate size of Manhattan, New York and approximately as deep as the Grand Canyon.

Read page 1

Proportion of total sockeye salmon run sizes by (A) Region and (B) Watershed in the Bristol Bay Region. Values are averages from (A) 1956 to 2005 from Ruggerone et al. 2010 and (B) 1956 to 2010 from Baker pers. comm. Chart: U.S. EPA

The waste product, weighing in at an estimated 10 billion tons, would sit in slurry ponds that would have the potential to leach into the groundwater and salmon streams. Even a minescule amount of copper entering the stream is enough to threaten salmon streams. If the equivalent of a teaspoon of copper in an Olympic size pool were to enter the stream, that would be enough to throw off the chemical responses a salmon uses to return to the area it was born to spawn itself.

The location of the proposed mine is also problematic due to high wind speeds in the area. The mine would sit in an area that has recorded 130 mph winds, which can carry mine waste into surrounding streams.

The U.S. EPA is proposing to protect Bristol Bay's fishery from potential mining impacts within the Kvichak and Nushagak River watersheds. Map: U.S. EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed protections to this watershed through the use of the Clean Water Act. Region 10 of the EPA is now requesting public comments regarding the proposed protections for the watershed. The public may submit public comments by clicking here or through the EPA’s website before the Sept. 19 deadline or attend a public comments hearing in Anchorage and Bristol Bay.

You Might Also Like

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A vegan diet can improve your health, but experts say it's important to keep track of nutrients and protein. Getty Images

By Dan Gray

  • Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
  • A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
  • It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.

New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.

Read More Show Less
Students gathered at the National Mall in Washington DC, Sept. 20. NRDC

By Jeff Turrentine

Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
samael334 / iStock / Getty Images

By Ruairi Robertson, PhD

Berries are small, soft, round fruit of various colors — mainly blue, red, or purple.

Read More Show Less
A glacier is seen in the Kenai Mountains on Sept. 6, near Primrose, Alaska. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have been studying the glaciers in the area since 1966 and their studies show that the warming climate has resulted in sustained glacial mass loss as melting outpaced the accumulation of new snow and ice. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Mark Mancini

On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.

Read More Show Less
Members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America table at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18. Alex Schwartz

By Alex Schwartz

Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Muffins are a popular, sweet treat.

Read More Show Less
Hackney primary school students went to the Town Hall on May 24 in London after school to protest about the climate emergency. Jenny Matthews / In Pictures / Getty Images

By Caroline Hickman

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?

Read More Show Less
Myrtle warbler. Gillfoto / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bird watching in the U.S. may be a lot harder than it once was, since bird populations are dropping off in droves, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less