Bristol Bay, Alaska© Ryan Peterson

Bristol Bay


Bristol Bay

Protecting the world’s greatest sockeye fishery

One of the greatest threats to Alaskan salmon is the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers in the Bristol Bay region – the most productive salmon ecosystem in the world. If constructed, Pebble would be the world’s second largest open pit copper/gold/molybdenum mine and include the world’s largest earthen dam, to hold back 10 billion tons of toxic tailings and contaminated water. The mine and tailings lake would site just north of Iliamna Lake.

Hanging in the balance is a $1.5 billion-a-year salmon fishing economy and an important subsistence food source for Bristol Bay communities.

Wild Salmon Center developed a technical report that examines the threats to Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fisheries posed by the Pebble Mine.  We will continue to work with partners to inform both Alaskans and the nation about the mine’s risk to salmon.

In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency initiated a process using its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay’s headwaters.  But that did not stop the Pebble Mine. Northern Dynasty, the mine’s sole remaining partner, launched a costly legal battle that stalled EPA’s efforts.

In May 2017, Northern Dynasty cut a deal with the Trump Administration’s new EPA administrator to reverse course and halt the Clean Water Act protection process.

We are redoubling our work with Alaskan partners to protect the region from large-scale mining, on behalf of all those who depend on Bristol Bay’s healthy salmon runs.

© Ben Knight
$1.5 billion: value of Bristol Bay salmon fishing economy
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