Alaska Trekking | Ground Truth Trekking

Pebble Mine: What you can do

Home | Interactive Maps | Photos | Facts | Stories and Articles | News | Action | About | Links

I'm on a 9 month expedition from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands, exploring environmental issues along the way. I'll be revisiting Pebble in the course of this journey in January 2008. Follow along on the journey blog

A A petition in support of the Wild Salmon Protection act and the Jay Hammond State Game Refuge

The Jay Hammond State Game Refuge
A proposal to create a game refuge in the Bristol Bay watershed, in honor of former Governor Jay Hammond.

The Alaska Wild Salmon Protection Act
All Alaskans, act now and tell the legislature what you think of the Alaska Wild Salmon Protection Act!
Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham) has introduced a bill intended to protect Wild Salmon in Bristol Bay. This bill, HB 134, is called "The Alaska Wild Salmon Protection Act," and affects wild salmon throughout the Bristol Bay watershed, including the five major river systems that flow into Bristol Bay.
This bill would prohibit the withdrawal, obstruction, pumping or pollution of surface or subsurface water in any Bristol Bay drainages that support salmon. The legislation also prohibits the destruction of salmon habitat, creates a fining schedule for violating these protections, and protects existing water uses authorized prior to the passage of the bill.
Read the full text of HB 134
The House Fisheries and Resources Committees will soon consider HB 134. You can help protect Bristol Bay today by writing/emailing/faxing the following members of the state legislature and strongly supporting HB 134, a Bill to Protect Wild Salmon in Bristol Bay.

Rep. Craig Johnson
Resources Co-Chair
State Capitol, Rm 126
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Fax: 907-465-3872

Rep. Carl Gatto
Resources Co-Chair
State Capitol, Rm 108
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Fax: 907-465-2381

Rep. Paul Seaton
Fisheries Chair
State Capitol, Rm 102
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Fax: 907-465-3472

The BLM's plan for Bristol Bay
Thanks to those of you who sent in comments on the BLM's draft plan.
The BLM has recently released a draft Regional Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Bristol Bay Region. This doesn't cover the Pebble Mine site directly, but it does cover a lot of land around the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers (the two main rivers I followed), and bordering Katmai National Park.
Their current preferred proposal opens most of this 3.6 million acres to hardrock mining, as well as oil and gas drilling.
Comments were due February 5, 2007, now we're waiting to see what they decide. Read a summary of the plan, my letter to the BLM, and links to the full document

Update on the Fish Refuge Proposal:
Thanks to those of you who commented on Proposal 121 to the Board of Fisheries
This proposal sought to establish a state fish refuge for Lower Talarik Creek, Upper Talarik Creek and Koktuli River to protect fish habitat.
Northern Dynasty is seeking to use these rivers as sites for disposal of mining waste (Koktuli), and to divert their water for use in mining operations (Kotuli and Upper Talarik).
There was a lot of impassioned testimony at the December 4th hearing, most of it pro-refuge.
The Board of Fisheries voted unanimously to create a panel to study the recommendation.
This panel will:

  • Review the state's protections for fish in the Bristol Bay region and decide whether more protections are needed.
  • Review options such as creating a state fisheries refuge in Bristol Bay if additional protective measures are deemed necessary.
  • Consider expanding the original proposal for a fisheries refuge -- limited to drainages adjacent to Pebble -- to include all waters of the Nushagak and Kvichak river drainages.
  • Monitor any pending state legislation related to Bristol Bay fisheries protection and advise the Board of Fisheries.
The panel will be composed of three of the seven board members. The board cannot create a refuge. It can only recommend one to the Legislature.
Read reports on the decision from the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU

For more information:
Scott Brennan puts out a weekly email news roundup on the Pebble Mine and related issues. Email him ( to subscribe to the Pebble Mine email list.

The Pebble Mine project is a controversial proposal by Northern Dynasty Minerals to build one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world, in southwest Alaska, near Lake Iliamna. Northern Dynasty has not yet applied for permits, but their current proposal involves both a large open pit and an underground mine, as well as removal of the water from the headwaters of Upper Talarik Creek and the Koktuli River ( important fish habitats). The site sits at the headwaters of two major Bristol Bay drainages ( Nushagak and Kvichak), and potentially poses a large threat to the region's water and salmon. This proposal has become a major political issue in Alaska, pitting pro-mining forces against local native villages and commercial and sport fishermen.

I'm very much against this mine proposal. But whatever you think about it, you should make your own opinions heard.
Remember that writing to your representatives, or letters to the editor in your local paper are always good things to do. For current alerts, visit the take action page at the Renewable Resources Coalition's website.

Read the guestbook | Sign the guestbook

Home | Interactive Maps | Photos | Facts | Stories and Articles | News | Action | About | Links

All content by Erin McKittrick, copyright 2006-2007. Contact me with comments or questions at mckittre at gmail dot com.
Go to Alaska Trekking home. Go to Ground Truth Trekking home.

Last modified: 2/11/2007