U.S. Army Corps key to Trump’s move on Pebble Mine

This week, the Trump administration placed a major hurdle in front of the company seeking to develop the largest gold and copper mine in North America. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday stated that the proposed Pebble Mine project, as currently designed, would not receive the necessary federal permits. The mine was slated for southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. (No paywall)

As Covid-19 rises, Alaskans crowd rivers for wild salmon

“As salmon make their epic voyages from the sea to upriver spawning grounds, Alaskans crowd shorelines to catch enough fish to put up for the winter,” Miranda Weiss writes in FERN’s latest story. But the activity has taken on a new urgency this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and fears of …

Coronavirus concerns mount as Bristol Bay salmon season prepares to open

Two months ago, local leaders in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay begged the state’s governor to consider canceling the commercial sockeye salmon season. They feared that Covid-19 would spread through the region’s small villages, which have scant health resources. Despite those concerns, preparations for the Bristol Bay fishery, which opens at the end of the month, are barreling ahead, and some 10,000 fishermen and processing plant workers from across the state, the country, and the world are set to descend on the region. But now, as Covid-19 cases are growing across the state — as of June 9, it had recorded more than 600 cases — there is concern that the $5.2 billion industry could be in jeopardy, writes Miranda Weiss in FERN’s latest story. (No paywall)

Alaska’s biggest wild salmon run at risk

Bristol Bay is a rare, pristine fishery, the largest source of wild salmon in the world, but a new story published by FERN in collaboration with The Nation says it faces a dual threat – from a rapidly changing climate and a massive, Trump-backed mine. The story, by Alaskan journalist Julia …

EPA ‘ready’ to work with Alaska gold mine but retains Obama-era doubts

After more than 1 million public comments, the EPA said it will not dismiss an Obama-era conclusion that the proposed Pebble gold mine in southwestern Alaska could cause "significant and irreversible harm" to the Bristol Bay watershed, reported the Washington Post. Instead, the EPA said it will seek additional comments and that its decision "neither deters nor derails the application process" for the mine. Opponents worry the mine could ruin the Bristol Bay fishery, the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.

What happens to a fishing culture when there are too few fish?

For generations, members of the Yurok tribe have fished for salmon in the Klamath River in the northwestern corner of California. "Salmon is essential to Yurok ceremonies, for food and for income," says Lisa Morehouse in a story for The California Report that was produced in partnership with FERN. "But this fall, the number of chinook salmon swimming up the Klamath was the lowest on record, threatening the tribe's entire culture and way of life."

Voluntary limits to blame for Puget Sound pollution, law center says

“Washington state and federal government spend taxpayer money on programs designed to fix the pollution problem, but recently only two of 17 reporting regions in Puget Sound showed any improvements in water quality,” says the Western Environmental Law Center.