On Monday, I saw a helicopter pilot I hadn’t seen in 14 years. Stan piloted my first trip in Bristol Bay to sample small headwater streams near the Pebble deposit. Seeing Stan brought up a flood of memories and names of people who have contributed to the decades of work to protect Bristol Bay, each in their own way.
Teams of salmon researchers have documented the diversity and importance of the complex habitat of the Nushagak and Kvichak watersheds. Lawyers have been by our side at every turn of this long campaign holding decision-makers accountable. Community organizers and social networkers have kept Alaskans up-to-date on comment periods, rallies, and petitions. Musicians and artists have fueled our love of salmon and centered our work in connections to each other and to the land and waters. Donors – from large foundations to individual small pockets – have provided Alaskans the capacity to keep this effort to protect Bristol Bay going for all the years it is taking.
And most importantly, the tribes, fishermen, and businesses of the region have won the hearts and attention of Alaskans by sharing their vision of the future of Bristol Bay. This vision clearly does NOT include a massive copper mine run by a foreign company in the headwaters of Bristol Bay.
It’s been a campaign of rotating voices and tactics. For many years the science was front and center as new data were collected and the mosaic of habitats that makes Bristol Bay such a productive and resilient region came into focus. And now, it feels right that voices of the region, led by the tribes of Bristol Bay, are bringing us ever closer to the finish line.
So many Alaskans – each with unique contributions – have been part of the fight to protect Bristol Bay and stop the Pebble Mine.
Please make sure your name is among them in this last step encouraging the EPA to complete its Final Determination in the 404(C) process. Add your name to our petition here: www.inletkeeper/Pebble2022
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