July 12, 2016 Newsletter
Summer is upon us, and with it many folks are headed north to enjoy a vacation of a lifetime in Alaska. Or, maybe they’re returning to their favorite lodge for another epic adventure. Whatever you’ve got planned, I hope it’s a great adventure. SAA will be headed to the ICAST/IFTD fishing industry trade shows this week, followed immediately by the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s annual conference. I’m looking forward to seeing many friends and supporters at those events. In this edition of the SAA news, you’ll find updates on Bristol Bay/Pebble Mine, the Tongass National Forest, some good news on the Susitna Dam, as well as some general tidbits and videos about fishing and hunting on the northern frontier. You can always see a comprehensive collection of news items on the Latest News page. But we’ll start with an urgent opportunity…
ACTION ALERT: Timber Sale on Wrangell Island Fails to Protect Fish & Game Habitat
The Wrangell Island Sale, in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, will cut 65 million board feet of old-growth timber from 5,309 acres and construct 32 miles of new road.
It would be the largest old-growth timber sale offered since the controversial Big Thorne timber sale, cost taxpayers huge sums of money, and impact some of the most important fish and wildlife habitat on Wrangell Island.
Bristol Bay: Pebble’s Finances and Congressional Hearing
The Pebble Limited Partnership continues to spend millions of dollars on lawyers and lobbyists as it is basically on financial life support. Pebble is fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in court and is trying to get Congress to do its bidding by holding hearings about the agency’s work in Bristol Bay. This issue will be inherited by the next President of the United States – and we must continue pressing for EPA to finish the job once the court actions play out.
- Recently filed financial reports by the Pebble Limited Partnership are not so positive, per this entry on the Huffington Post.
- The Pebble Limited Partnership is threatening to file a complaint that would saddle the U.S. taxpaying public with costs of their so far unsuccessful bid to build a mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, according to this Huffington Post entry.
- A U.S. House of Representatives committee held a hearing yesterday that featured much testimony on the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. Good coverage in the Alaska Dispatch News and on Alaska Public Radio.
- A Bristol Bay commercial fisherman writes a reminder about what makes Bristol Bay so special, in this outdoors column in the Alaska Dispatch News.
- The two billionth salmon in the 133-year history of Bristol Bay’s commercial fishery was landed last week!
Tongass National Forest – Forest Plan Amendment Released
The U.S. Forest Service released the amended forest plan for the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. The amended plan was met by praise from Trout Unlimited, which also pointed out several threats that the amended forest plan is facing in Congress before it can even be implemented.
- Coverage of the USFS’ amended management plan for the Tongass National Forest can be found in the Juneau Empire and on Alaska Public Media. The plan includes many provisions that improve protections for valuable fish and wildlife habitat on the Tongass, which help support Southeast Alaska’s huge fishing, tourism, and recreation industries.
Transboundary Mining Threat – Pressure Applied in Canada and USA
- Concerns over the threat of mine pollution from British Columbia mining operations that are upstream on several Southeast Alaska river systems gained more urgency with a report condemning the effectiveness of BC mining regulations and enforcement, per the Alaska Dispatch News.
- Southeast Alaska groups traveled to Canada’s capitol to raise international concerns over British Columbia mining projects that threaten river systems that flow into and through Alaska, per the Times Colonist.
- Alaska Native groups joined with conservation interests in asking the U.S. Dept. of Interior to investigate whether mining projects in British Columbia are impacting Alaska fish and game resources. Alaska’s entire Congressional delegation has also asked the Obama administration to get involved with the Transboundary mining threat. Story in the Alaska Dispatch News.
Win for Salmon on the Susitna River!
In the spirit of every cloud having a silver lining, the controversial mega-dam proposed for the Susitna River is a victim of Alaska’s budget crisis, as Governor Walker announced over $1 billion in vetoes per the Alaska Dispatch News.
More discussion at the Wild Salmon Center.
Other News from Around Alaska and Miscellaneous Fun Items
- A stronger run of king salmon is forecast in Alaska this season, according to this story in the Alaska Dispatch News. But the famed Copper River is experiencing low king returns.
- A Florida angler landed a 341-lb halibut in Cook Inlet!
- Here’s a report from June on the Russian River early king and sockeye fishery.
- Anglers Journal ran a sort of “how to” piece about planning a fishing trip to Alaska.
- Here’s a fun short video of a family catching grayling at Lake Clark.
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.
(If you have any questions on how to donate, email Scott@SportsmansAlliance4AK.org.)
Do You Shop Online? Doesn’t Nearly Everyone These Days?
Two Ways to Help Alaska Conservation – Easy and Free!!!
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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