As we approach solstice anticipating the returning light, I’ve been laughing about the notion that this is the slow time of year. The to-do list here at Cook Inletkeeper is longer than ever – there is no off-season to protecting what we love. This month we are fighting the repeal of the jetski ban in the Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Area; last month we identified major concerns with the sale of BP assets to Hilcorp; and the month before we were investigating the impacts of seismic testing on marine life in Lower Cook Inlet.
These issues come right on the heels of one of the most dramatic summers we’ve ever experienced. With smoke filled skies, burning forests, hot salmon streams and drought conditions, the summer of 2019 was stressful. So much is changing so fast and, yet, the most important things – our drive to protect the landscapes and communities we love and our desire to provide future generations a healthy Cook Inlet – these things remain constant.
We have a special opportunity from an amazing supporter who will match Inletkeeper donations dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000! Your support will go twice as far. And, in times like this when the challenges we face to protect Cook Inlet are relentless, we need your support and every dollar matters.
For me, the best things about 2019 involved you! You showed up at No Pebble Mine rallies across the watershed and told the Army Corps that they have not done their job. You showed up to support our youth who filled the streets and raised their voices expressing their concern about our warming world. You showed up at Farmers Markets to support our booming local food economy. You came to our Community Action Studio in Soldotna to talk about local climate actions for the Central Kenai Peninsula. And you played with us at Salmonfest where we celebrate our salmon way of life.
We work and play together in Cook Inlet: it is the watershed that feeds our bodies and spirit. We are in this for the long haul with you.
Clean water and healthy habitat – doesn’t seem like too much to ask; however, since we began in 1995, we have fought to close the loop hole that allows the oil industry to dump its toxic pollution directly into Cook Inlet. This is the ONLY place in the country where this is permitted. The oil companies continue to claim that it is too expensive to meet industry standards in Cook Inlet. Meanwhile, we are experiencing a resurgence of oil and gas exploration in Lower Cook Inlet and the proposed Pebble Mine slithers ever closer towards intact bear and salmon habitat on the west side of Cook Inlet. These attacks on clean water and healthy habitat are happening on our watch.
Your past support has allowed us to protect beluga whale and salmon habitat, strengthen riparian buffers, and reduce toxic pollution from pipelines. We have collected years of data through citizen monitoring efforts and with temperature data loggers. Together, we stand for salmon and we stand up for science.
In 2020, we celebrate our 25th year protecting the Cook Inlet watershed and the life it sustains. We are grateful for the vision of those Alaskans who helped get the organization started and for all those supporters and staff who have carried the vision forward. Now it’s time to bring our brand of community-based leadership to the greatest challenge Alaskans have ever faced: addressing the reality of a changing climate in a state buttressed by the fossil fuel economy.
We will do this with the same bold and unique Inletkeeper strategies that you know us for – our secret sauce of science, advocacy and outreach. And despite the void of leadership from the Dunleavy Administration, we will do this with you and with scientists, youth, fishermen, and state-wide partners and chart a new course towards a thriving future for Cook Inlet.
We know you share our drive to protect the landscapes and communities we love and our desire to provide future generations a healthy Cook Inlet. After all, YOU are Inletkeeper.
I know life is busy so please accept my sincere ‘thank you!’ for prioritizing Cook Inlet and the life it sustains.
Yours for Cook Inlet,
Interim Executive Director & Science Director
P.S. Please help us in our efforts by donating now to double your contribution through a generous dollar-for-dollar matching offer!