May 24, 2011 Newsletter
Summer’s nearly here! I hope you’ve been enjoying some early season fishing, maybe some turkey hunting, and just plain getting outside. For those of you with plans to visit Alaska this year, the time is drawing near. There’s excitement in the air with the approaching summer and also with the work of protecting some of Alaska’s best fishing and hunting habitats.
It has been two months since the last SAA newsletter, and a lot has happened in that time. Below you will find some of the highlights from the past month. As always, there’s much more found at the Latest News page on the SAA site. I encourage you to visit that page and peruse the stories from the past two months.
But before we get to the news, I want to highlight a very special fundraising offer from a longtime SAA friend and supporter…
Rapids Camp Lodge Challenges SAA Supporters to Raise $10,000
Jerry Shults of Rapids Camp Lodge has generously pledged to donate up to $5,000 to SAA – but it comes with a challenge to you. Jerry will donate $1 for every $2 donated by SAA supporters. If SAA raises $10,000 to help fight for Bristol Bay, Jerry will give $5,000 to the campaign. This is a great opportunity to leverage Jerry’s offer and make your donation grow by 50%!
Your $100 donation would turn into $150 because Jerry will match 50%!
SAA has over 10,000 people on its e-mail list, so this probably doesn’t seem too difficult. Heck, if just 200 people gave $50 each we’d max out Jerry’s pledge. But the fact is, only a small fraction of people make donations, and that’s typically the case with any cause. However, if you were ever going to give to support SAA’s work to inform and engage America’s anglers and hunters in the fight for Bristol Bay now would be a great time to do so. It’s not every day that someone like Jerry agrees to boost your donation by 50%!
SAA is a lean operation, with just one person on staff. However, SAA has been extremely effective in rallying support from sportsmen and women for protecting some of the finest sporting destinations on the planet. $15,000 will go a long way toward supporting SAA’s work. The coming year is going to be critical if we are to achieve our ultimate goal of protecting Bristol Bay.
Of course it goes without saying that SAA is extremely grateful for Jerry’s and Rapids Camp Lodge’s support!
For full details, and to make your matching funds donation, click here.
Let’s see what’s been happening with Bristol Bay, the Tongass National Forest, and more...
Tongass National Forest: Sealaska Bills get Congressional Hearings this week
The controversial Sealaska lands bill is back in Congress. There are different versions in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both chambers of Congress will hold hearings on the bills this week. The Sealaska Bill (S.730 and H.R. 1408) has spurred controversy within local communities, and continues to pit neighbor against neighbor in the small towns throughout southeast Alaska. SAA believes that finalizing Sealaska’s claims are a high priority, but they must be balanced with conservation for the Tongass, as well as meet the needs of the local communities whose livelihoods depend upon the forest. Read a few opinion pieces about the legislation by a Southeast Alaska lodge operator, a commercial fisherman, and a retired forest economist.
Bristol Bay: Lobby Week in Washington DC features Supreme Court Event
A talented and diverse contingent of Bristol Bay stakeholders and activists traveled to our nation's capitol in late March to meet with leaders of federal agencies as well as members of Congress.
The message of Bristol Bay’s values was carried by dozens of Alaska Natives, sport fishing, and commercial fishing interests. The highlight of the week was a reception held at the U.S. Supreme Court hosted by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who just happens to be a fan of wild salmon as well as an avid fly angler who has fished in Alaska.
During the week, twenty DC restaurants featured wild Bristol Bay salmon on their menus and a letter from 200 chefs and restaurants was delivered to the EPA asking for protections under the Clean Water Act for Bristol Bay.
Bristol Bay: Recent News Stories about the Pebble Partnership
- A coalition of nearly 30 investment organizations representing over $170 billion in assets and 13 million shares in Anglo American plc (the major financial partner behind Pebble) is asking the EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to review potential impacts to Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine.
- Northern Dynasty Minerals, one half of the Pebble Partnership, is looking to sell its stake in the proposed Pebble Mine. Recently, Mitsubishi Corporation divested itself from its holdings in Northern Dynasty.
- At Anglo American’s annual shareholder meeting in London, a number of attendees expressed concern over the controversial Pebble Mine proposal in Bristol Bay. Also, A diverse set of voices posted this letter in The Guardian expressing their concerns about the proposed Pebble Mine project to Anglo American on the day of Anglo’s annual general shareholder meeting in London. The signers included Alaska Native leaders, commercial fishing leaders, anglers, royal jewelers, U.K. politicians, and fisheries conservationists.
- Northern Dynasty Minerals announced the Pebble Partnership has approved $91 million in expenditures for 2011, with the goal of preparing the Pebble project for permitting in 2012.
- A new non-profit group has formed in Anchorage to advocate for resource development in southwest Alaska. The new group represents the small minority of residents of the region, and has ties to the Pebble Partnership. Read the response from the vast majority of the region’s residents to this new group here.
Bristol Bay: Fish Studies and Season Salmon Forecast
- Biologists with the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game are forecasting a commercial salmon bounty this coming season.
- ADF&G’s statewide salmon forecast can be viewed here along with a review of 2010.
- A new fisheries resource report based on three years of field study documents the presence of wild salmon in streams atop the Pebble Mine prospect in Bristol Bay.
- Check out the audio files and PowerPoint presentations from the recent 2011 Southwest Alaska Salmon Science Symposium, given by two University of Washington professors who co-authored a landmark study of Bristol Bay salmon habitat.
Tongass National Forest: USFS and State Disagree on Tongass Roadless Exemptions
Back in March, a federal judge in Anchorage reinstated roadless area protections on the Tongass National Forest. Read a New York Times editorial on the decision. Now the U.S. Forest Service and the State of Alaska are at odds over which development projects should be exempt from the ruling.
More News and Notes: All Over Alaska
- The Bristol Bay Fly Fishing & Guide Academy will be held May 29-June 5 on the Naknek River.
- American Rivers named the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers of Bristol Bay to the group’s list of America's Most Endangered Rivers.
- A scientist with over 60 years of experience working with salmon in Alaska wrote an excellent opinion editorial in the Anchorage Daily News about the proposal to build a coal mine on the west side of Cook Inlet which would impact salmon habitat.
- PBS ran an excellent program on the plight of Pacific salmon. Watch Salmon: Running the Gauntlet online.
- Sign this petition asking for creation of a state wildlife refuge at Tangle Lakes.
- A win-win project in Southeast Alaska is enhancing habitat for deer and salmon, producing jobs for local loggers, firewood for local residents, and providing a research project for the local high school.
Special Offers from Artist Bob White and Photographer Terry Gunn
Friend and talented artist Bob White is a long-time guide in Bristol Bay. Bob has just released a new print titled “Evening Quiet – Togiak Valley.” The image (at left) will accompany John Gierach’s closing column in the Summer 2011 issue of Fly Rod & Reel magazine.
There are 50 limited edition prints available, at just $160 each. Ten percent of the sales proceeds will be donated to SAA’s work to protect Bristol Bay. Order yours here.
Thanks Bob and Lisa!
Angler and photographer Terry Gunn has made 18 of his beautiful images from Bristol Bay available for purchase, with all proceeds to benefit SAA’s work.
Prints are available in sizes from 4”x6” to 20”x30”. View the selection and order your prints here.
Donate to SAA – Support the Fight for Fishing and Hunting in Alaska
SAA is grateful for the generous support of individuals, businesses, and foundations. Your donations allow SAA to continue to work on efforts to protect prime fishing and hunting habitats in the Last Frontier for the benefit of current and future sportsmen and women.
Make your donations online at the secure SAA donation page; all amounts are accepted and appreciated! For donations of the following amounts, please indicate what item you’d like to receive in the “comment” box on the donation page.
Thanks for whatever you’re able to contribute to help secure a future for fishing and hunting on Alaska’s public lands!
Thank you for caring about Alaska conservation. Get ready for lots of action in the coming year!
Director – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska