February 12, 2013 Newsletter
I hope that your holiday season was a good one, and that 2013 is off to a great start for you and yours. SAA continues to play a leading role with the hunting and angling communities in efforts to protect Bristol Bay, spending time with allies at a few major industry events already in 2013. There is some very current news on the EPA front which you’ll find below.
You’ll also see some news about the Tongass National Forest and the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska. For a comprehensive list of news items, you can always visit the Latest News page on the SAA Web site.
This newsletter will hit the major highlights and let you know about some great ways you can support SAA and the efforts to protect some of Alaska’s most productive fish and game habitats. But before we get started, in honor of those of us in the Midwest and New England who’ve endured a blizzard the past few days…a bit of inspiration.
Latest with the EPA and Bristol Bay
Agency intends to complete Final Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment in 2013
On Feb. 5, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it is planning for the 12 original Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment peer reviewers to evaluate the revisions the agency has made to the draft Bristol Bay Assessment. EPA’s goal is to determine if these revisions reflect the peer reviewers’ feedback, which EPA received in fall of 2012. This peer review follow-up will be conducted in spring 2013. The agency intends to hold a public comment period on the revised assessment concurrent with the peer review evaluation. EPA’s stated primary objective is to make sure the agency is using the best available science. EPA intends to finalize the assessment in 2013 after carefully considering the scientific peer review and public comment. Stay on top of EPA developments through the agency’s official Bristol Bay Web site.
Read coverage of and reaction to the EPA’s announcement:
- Associated Press story in the Anchorage Daily News
- Trout Unlimited press release
- Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay press release
- Dutch Harbor Fisherman story including reaction from regional Native leaders
It is obvious we will need to continue to press the President and the EPA to take action to protect Bristol Bay. SAA has led the effort to secure the support of now over 850 hunting and angling groups and businesses asking for the EPA to act, one of the largest and most diverse collections of hook and bullet signatories to any conservation advocacy letter. On top of the support from the hunting and angling community, this campaign continues to be bolstered by the vast majority of Bristol Bay residents, the commercial fishing industry in Alaska and other parts of the country, over 50 major jewelry brands, chefs, restaurants, food retailers, socially responsible investment firms, and more.
When the EPA announces the public comment period for the revised assessment, you will be notified how you can take part and make your voice heard for Bristol Bay – STAND BY!
Bristol Bay: State of Alaska releases proposed amendments to 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan
The amended land use plan is the result of a 2009 joint lawsuit filed in state court by Trout Unlimited, the Alaska Independent Fisherman’s Marketing Association and five Bristol Bay area village and tribal councils against the Department of Natural Resources. A public comment period is open until April 4 for Alaskans to weigh in on the revised Bristol Bay Area Plan, which still has much room for improvement. See coverage and reaction:
- Anchorage Daily News story
- Alaska Journal of Commerce story
- Alaska Dispatch story
- Save Bristol Bay blog post
- Informative short video on the Bristol Bay Area Plan
Tongass National Forest: Public Comment Period Open
- The U.S. Forest Service has a public comment period open until March 31. Interested parties can comment to the U.S. Forest Service on any adjustments or clarifications needed to the 2008 Forest Plan for the Tongass. Some good talking points may be found through the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.
Visit the American Salmon Forest web site today. Learn about the Tongass 77 campaign, and sign on to support this proposed legislation to protect the best fish-producing watersheds on America’s largest national forest.
Random Shots: News and Notes from Around Alaska
- The Bristol Bay Times reports that Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor has certified the Bristol Bay Forever citizen’s ballot initiative, which aims to protect Bristol Bay’s salmon resources from proposed large-scale mining in the region.
- Alaska Business Monthly reports that the Bureau of Land Management announced the Integrated Activity Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska. The plan allows for development of over 70% of the estimated economically recoverable oil in the Reserve while protecting some of the most critical wildlife habitat and vital subsistence resources for Alaska natives. Watch a short video about the conservation values of the NPR-A from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership featuring Steven Rinella, host of MeatEater.
- The proposed Susitna Dam would be the nation’s second-tallest (750 feet) on the nation’s 15th largest (by discharge) river. State planners are moving forward toward licensing. Read an opinion editorial about the dam proposal and learn more from the Coalition for Susitna Dam Alternatives, as this project would be located in the most-visited part of Alaska.
- Check out the Magnetic North series of Web videos from Alaska Fly Out. These will get your juices flowing for some amazing Alaska fishing.
- Follow the Save Bristol Bay YouTube channel which showcasing people from Bristol Bay and around the country and why we need to protect this fishery. One recent highlight is The Last Cast - Sportsmen Fight to Save Bristol Bay, which will be shown as a PSA during screenings of the F3T and IF4 film tours this winter.
- Years ago, SAA Director Scott Hed had the pleasure of hosting Larry Csonka on a South Dakota pheasant hunt. Now Larry lives in Alaska and the final season of his terrific North to Alaska television series is airing on the NBC Sports Network.
- Alaska magazine is giving away a Southeast Alaska fishing trip – no purchase required.
Other Ways to Support SAA and 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 online donation page; all amounts are accepted and appreciated – SAA is a lean, mean, one-man operation but it takes funding to do this work. For donations of the following amounts, please include “SAA” and indicate what item you’d like to receive in the “comment” box on the donation page.
- $25 Red Gold documentary DVD
- $25 Alaska Gold DVD copy of the July 2012 episode of Frontline on PBS
- $25 Salmon in the Trees hardcover book (3 copies available)
- $125 4-in-1 Alaska giclee print by Derek DeYoung (16” x 20”)
(If you have any questions on how to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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Thanks for caring about Alaska conservation. Your support and actions will ensure a future for Alaska’s fish and game and for coming generations of sportsmen and women to enjoy them.
Director, Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska