Bristol Bay Update: Your Chance to Help Protect the Bay Today

Bristol Bay brown bear, courtesy NWF

Top photo: Brown bear fishing in the Bristol Bay watershed, just one of the countless animals that depend on the bounty of the bay

At the Marine Fish Conservation Network, we’ve advocated for protecting Bristol Bay in Alaska for many years. Today we have news to share and an opportunity for you to take action to support the Bay.

Last month, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a revised Proposed Determination under Clean Water Act Section 404(c) to prohibit and restrict the use of certain waters in the Bristol Bay watershed as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble Deposit. The announcement started a comment period that ends September 6th.

Please submit a comment today to support Clean Water Act protections.

“The Bristol Bay watershed is a shining example of how our nation’s waters are essential to healthy communities, vibrant ecosystems, and a thriving economy,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is committed to following the science, the law, and a transparent public process to determine what is needed to ensure that this irreplaceable and invaluable resource is protected for current and future generations.”

If completed, EPA’s Section 404(c) determination shields the Bristol Bay watershed’s rivers, streams, and wetlands, safeguarding the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and a way of life that has sustained Alaska Native communities for millennia.

While the process was started over a decade ago, EPA is once again moving in the right direction to protect water and fish habitat in southwest Alaska.

  • Residents in Bristol Bay overwhelmingly support Clean Water Act protections for the region.
  • At public hearings in June, over 90% of the comments called for EPA to complete strong and comprehensive protections to ensure Pebble – or other mining companies – cannot come back in the future.
  • This month, MFCN joined more than 150 hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation businesses and brands across the country on a letter to EPA supporting Clean Water Act protections and asking the agency to complete them as soon as possible. You can read the letter here.
  • Hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts have repeatedly said Bristol Bay is no place for the Pebble mine because of potential negative impacts to the fishery and fish-based businesses in the region.

Bristol Bay needs durable and longstanding protections so that we don’t have to keep fighting Pebble in the future.

We appreciate your support for the Network and hope you will submit your comment today to support Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay.

About Rob Vandermark

Rob Vandermark is the executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network.

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