February 28, 2014
Today, the EPA is beginning a process under the Clean Water Act to identify appropriate options to protect the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska from the potentially destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine.
There are several steps in the Clean Water Act Section 404(c) review process, and public involvement opportunities are part of the process. To read the news release, the letter initiating EPA’s review or to learn more about Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act, please visit EPA’s website: www2.epa.gov/bristolbay.
The Washington Post broke the story this morning.
EPA releases final Bristol Bay watershed assessment
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final report on the threats facing the Bristol Bay region from proposed massive mining projects such as the Pebble Mine. The sport fishing and hunting community issued a press release and a letter to the EPA praising the agency for completing the study, but calling on EPA to now use its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay.
See EPA’s press release on the agency’s Bristol Bay page.
Anglo American Decides to Exit Pebble Partnership
The major financial partner behind the proposed Pebble Mine announced that it is exercising its option to exit the project, leaving Northern Dynasty Minerals to go it alone for now. While this is a very positive development, the proposed Pebble Mine is still a massive threat to Bristol Bay until we achieve protection for the region. Lots of news to be found on the Latest News page, and here are some highlights:
SPORTSMAN’S ALLIANCE for ALASKA Trip to Bristol Bay Featured on Keep America Fishing
SAA Director Scott Hed led a group of angling and hunting industry allies on a trip to Rapids Camp Lodge in late July. Fishing and a site visit to the proposed Pebble Mine were on the docket, and a series of six trip journal entries were posted online by Keep America Fishing, the advocacy arm of the American Sportfishing Association. There are also a few photo albums from the trip on the Keep America Fishing Facebook page.
Credit: Ben Bulis
Bristol Bay River Academy
Check out this great video from the 2013 Bristol Bay River Academy – a project to engage Bristol Bay youth in the sport fishing industry.
National Sportsmen and Conservation Groups Urge Congressman Paul Broun to Support the Protection of Bristol Bay
Sixteen prominent national sportsmen and conservation groups signed a letter to Congressman Paul Broun urging his support for the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and the protection of one of the world’s greatest locations for hunting and fishing. Congressman Broun, who proudly calls himself a sportsman, will chair a Congressional hearing on Thursday, August 1 to look into the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. Previously, Congressman Broun has been critical of the EPA’s efforts to protect Bristol Bay and its fish and wildlife species, much to the disappointment of many sportsmen and conservationists.
The letter concludes: “We do not doubt your passion for issues important to sportsmen. When it comes to Bristol Bay, however, your stance is at odds with like minded sportsmen, the businesses they run, and organizations of which they are members. As you continue to perform your duties as Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee for the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, we hope that you will remember your sportsmen’s roots and listen to our concerns about Bristol Bay, Alaska. The EPA’s process is the only guaranteed way to ensure that Bristol Bay is protected through reasonable mining restrictions. It deserves your support, not derision.”
Revised EPA Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Released
Comment Period Closed June 30, 2013
On Friday, April 26, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency released its revised draft watershed assessment for Bristol Bay.
Based on over 230,000 public comments, public meetings held in Seattle, Anchorage, and a number of Bristol Bay communities, and a review by an independently selected panel of expert peer scientists, EPA has released revisions to the draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.
- The revised draft watershed assessment and executive summary may be viewed on the EPA's official Bristol Bay Web site.
- View the official official EPA fact sheet which summarizes changes in the revised draft watershed assessment.
- Trout Unlimited expressed the need for EPA to take action based on the revised assessment in this press release.
- Commercial fishing businesses voiced their support for the watershed assessment in this press release.
See the Latest News page for tons of media coverage about the EPA’s watershed assessment over the past several months.
The Last Cast - Sportsmen Fight to Save Bristol Bay
This beautiful video will sweep you into the incredible landscape of Bristol Bay, Alaska and give you a taste of why anglers "are spoiled forever" after fishing in Bristol Bay's productive waters. "It's the place people dream to fish." And, it explains why sportsmen are fighting so hard to protect this last vestige of wild in the United States from an open-pit mine of "unimaginable size" called Pebble.
As they say, it's go time. Send a message to the President now.
See the letter from 925 angling and hunting groups and businesses asking EPA for common-sense protections in Bristol Bay by clicking here. (Letter current as of 5/7/13).
Bristol Bay Area Plan
This fact sheet and the video below explain the State of Alaska’s Bristol Bay Area Plan which was originally created in 1984, revised drastically (in a very bad way) in 2005, challenged in court and because of a settlement agreement between the State of Alaska and the plaintiffs, will be revised in 2013.
Read the Save Bristol Bay blog entry of Jan. 23, 2013, about the positives and the not-so-positives in the State of Alaska’s proposed revisions to the Bristol Bay Area Plan.
Bristol Bay Dispatches - EPA Hearings
Sportsmen rally for Bristol Bay in Nation's Capital
by Scott Hed
Forty hunting and angling leaders descended on Washington, D.C. in April, 2012, to participate in the Bristol Bay Sportsmen's Summit.
It was incredible to witness the drive and passion that sportsmen and women from across the nation have in support of the efforts to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine project.
Having worked on this issue for over six years, the Summit represented something of a culmination (yet, just another step toward our ultimate goal) of the efforts to date to inform and engage America's hunting and angling communities in our campaign.
The diversity of supporters from the hook and bullet realm - now numbering over 500 groups and businesses who have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect Bristol Bay - was also reflected in the selfless individuals who traveled from 17 different states to give a few days of their time to talk to federal decision-makers about the importance of Bristol Bay.
Our contingent included Bristol Bay lodge operators from Alaska and a few other states, current and former state politicians, current and past executives and officers of Trout Unlimited, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Dallas Safari Club, Camp Fire Club of America, Pope and Young Club, American Sportfishing Association, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, Wildlife Forever, North American Hunting Club, North American Fishing Club, and many state or local sportsman group leaders and outdoor business owners.
Our sporting leaders were excited and proud to be joined by executives and board members from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation. It was terrific to work alongside the leaders of BBNC, who are fighting for the future of the region which has supported their families for many generations. One of the strengths of this campaign is the fact that the in-region support is so widespread and pervasive, and the fact that support outside of Alaska continues to grow at such a tremendous rate only serves to make the overall campaign more effective.
We kept our charges extremely busy over the course of our time in DC. Over 40 meetings were held with Congressional offices as well as with staff at the White House and the Administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson. Trust me, attempting to schedule delegates in that many meetings in that short a time frame is a challenge, and I salute my colleagues who helped with those logistical details.
At the close of the Summit the big question was: Did we move the needle? I believe we did. The talents and passion of these 40 sportsmen and women carried the message for the millions of hunters and anglers from across the country who have either been to Bristol Bay and can’t wait to return, or who haven’t been there yet but dream of visiting Bristol Bay someday.
During our training session the day before our meetings began, I told the delegates that they were in DC to play a part in what may become the signature fisheries conservation victory of our lifetimes. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that. If Bristol Bay can be risked to something like the Pebble Mine, then I truly believe that everything is on the table – no place is off limits. Because of the depth and diversity of the parties fighting for Bristol Bay – from Bristol Bay villages to the farthest corners of our nation – I continue to believe that the good guys have a fighting chance. After the events of last week’s Sportsmen’s Summit for Bristol Bay, our decision makers have been reminded again how important this issue is for the people of Bristol Bay and all who treasure it.
Scott Hed is director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska.
More coverage of the Bristol Bay Sportsmen's Summit
- The Sportsmen’s Summit for Bristol Bay took place in Washington, DC, the week of April 16, 2012. Read the press release from Trout Unlimited.
- A former Congressman who is currently the Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party wrote an opinion editorial in The Hill, a Washington, DC, paper, advocating for the protection of Bristol Bay.
How the EPA can Protect Bristol Bay
The coming year is shaping up to be critically important in the efforts to stop the proposed Pebble Mine.
Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed is a complex system of rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands that support the most productive wild sockeye salmon fishery in the world.
To protect the salmon, sportsmen, Alaska tribes, native corporations, commercial fishermen and others have petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to restrict or prohibit the disposal of mine waste in Bristol Bay's pristine waters, including wetlands.
Click here for a simple overview of the EPA’s role and the section of the Clean Water Act that is being deliberated.
Share These Fact Sheets to Help Bristol Bay
The Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska and the Trout Unlimited Alaska program have created a few simple tools to help spread the word about Bristol Bay.
Print a few copies to share with friends, distribute at your business, or download the files and e-mail to your contacts. Get creative with how you use them, but be sure to use them – that’s the important part.
We need to get more people aware of the threat facing Bristol Bay and let them know how they can help.
- High Resolution Fact Sheet (suitable for printing)
- Low Resolution Fact Sheet (better for e-mailing as a file attachment)
- Informational Postcard
Hunters Taking Interest in Proposed Pebble Mine
While nobody will dispute the fact that the major risk to the Bristol Bay region from the proposed Pebble Mine will be to the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, it’s also true that southwest Alaska holds tremendous value for species such as caribou, moose, and bear. Hunters from across the globe travel to this region every year to experience a remote wilderness hunt in truly wild country.
The Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska works with hunting groups like Dallas Safari Club, big game hunting guides, and companies in the hunting products industry. More hunters will be hearing about the threat facing Bristol Bay in coming months.
Click on the magazine cover to read a piece SAA did for Trophy Hunter magazine. The piece discusses why hunters should care about Pebble Mine, and includes statements of support from Dallas Safari Club, Sturm Ruger & Co., hunting guides and more. Anglers, hunters, or both…all of us are working to protect Bristol Bay!
Donate $25 to the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska and get a copy of the award-winning documentary film Red Gold on DVD.
Red Gold is hands down the best outreach tool to educate people about the Pebble Mine threat. It’s an incredible human interest story, and appeals to all audiences…not just those of us that love to catch big rainbow trout!
Please indicate “Red Gold DVD” in the comment box on the secure donation page.
Abel ‘No Pebble Mine’ Reel to Aid Alaskan Conservation
Opponents of the potentially environmentally devastating Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region will benefit from an Abel Super 5N trout reel.
Abel will produce a limited edition of the engraved reels ...