Alaska's Bristol Bay is a place of bounty and balance. Its iconic and bountiful wild salmon have adapted to each individual stream feeding the bay, their cycles of ebb and flow continually self-regulating the species. A truly natural blessing!
But Bristol Bay is cursed with an abundance of another kind: several proposals for hard-rock mining are pending here, including the notorious Pebble Mine, which would be one of the world's largest gold and copper mines. Damaging even a few salmon streams with toxic mining runoff would disrupt the natural diversity and tip the balance of this treasured ecosystem.
Tell the Bureau of Land Management to protect Bristol Bay from the toxic threat of hard-rock mining.
The current Bay Resource Management Plan (RMP), unfortunately, appears not to fully account for the true value of the fishery in this area and, in so doing, unnecessarily jeopardizes a world-class natural resource. The Bristol Bay watershed includes lands adjacent to the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers, two of the most productive wild salmon producing rivers in the world. The region’s sport, commercial and subsistence fisheries generate approximately $440 million each year and provide jobs for some 12,500 people in Southwestern Alaska.
I believe that BLM can produce and implement a land use plan for Bristol Bay that will allow generation of economic opportunities while also conserving this iconic fishery for future generations.
I respectfully request reconsideration of the currently flawed Bay RMP, which you inherited from the Bush Administration. I have two requests. First, I urge you to direct the U.S. Department of Interior to undertake a full review of the plan. Second, I ask that your agency create a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The statement would include adopting the strongest possible protections for the lands and waters of Bristol Bay, re-conducting the review of the rivers on BLM lands with a watershed-level approach, and incorporating findings from the Nushagak River Watershed Traditional Use Area Conservation Plan. We must ensure that fisheries and traditional ways of life are not sacrificed to short-sighted development.
Please take action to implement the strongest possible protections for Bristol Bay to ensure that
future generations can also enjoy a wild Alaska.