It’s been several months since the last SAA newsletter, so there’s quite a bit to report. SAA has been busy mainly with efforts to protect Bristol Bay, and even managed a trip to Alaska for both work and fun (including some great fishing) this fall. With wild Alaska salmon filets and venison from a nice South Dakota whitetail in the freezer, it’s time to wrap up 2012 and look ahead to 2013. For a comprehensive list of news items, you can always visit the Latest News page
on the SAA web site. This newsletter will hit the major highlights and let you know about some great ways you can support SAA and the efforts to protect some of Alaska’s most productive fish and game habitats.
Latest with the EPA and Bristol Bay
Draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment has been peer reviewed and awaits next steps
There is a ton of coverage of the watershed assessment on the Latest News page. Here’s a brief sampling of highlights:
The official EPA site on Bristol Bay
includes the full final independent peer review report as well as records of all of the comments submitted on the draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment during the official public comment period this summer.
The independent peer review panel met in Anchorage in August to discuss the assessment. Recaps of the meetings can be found in the Anchorage Daily News, the Alaska Dispatch, and the Alaska Journal of Commerce.
Responses to the EPA’s peer review comments from both sides of the Pebble Mine debate were covered in the Bristol Bay Times.
Angling Trade magazine
ran the press release from Trout Unlimited’s Alaska program in response to the peer review report on the EPA’s draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.
Bristol Bay: Congressional Republicans Criticize EPA Involvement in Bristol Bay; Local Residents, Commercial Fishermen, and Sportsmen Across Nation Defend Agency
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have begun to interject themselves into the debate over the proposed Pebble Mine. Chairmen of two House committees have written to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson regarding the agency’s work on the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) weighed in both in August and December, while Congressmen Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) contacted the agency in September. The EPA has been invited to engage in the debate over the future of Bristol Bay by Alaska Natives, commercial fishermen, hunters and anglers, and many more. We will need to fend off these attacks to ensure EPA is able to do its job and finish the science-based Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.
Meanwhile, an impassioned plea for EPA to be involved in Bristol Bay was penned by Alaska’s former First Lady, Bella Hammond, in the Anchorage Daily News.
And sportsmen as well as commercial fishermen took out ads in the DC press to call on President Obama to protect Bristol Bay through EPA action.
What the Election Meant for Bristol Bay
I’m sure we’re all glad that the relentless advertising barrage is in the rear view mirror, no matter what our personal opinions are on the results of the 2012 national elections. But what did it all mean for Bristol Bay? We’ll need to remain vigilant in our efforts to convince President Obama that Bristol Bay deserves protection, and to defend the ability for agencies like the EPA to do their job to achieve that goal.
Angling Trade magazine
featured a short piece by Tom Sadler, board member of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, on the subject (p. 16).
Fly Rod & Reel will also cover this subject in their next issue
Tongass National Forest: News and Notes
American Forests magazine
had a feature on the ongoing transition in the Tongass from a timber-based economy to one more dependent upon tourism and salmon.
A small sawmill and lumber products company is expanding in Southeast Alaska and producing more value-added products from the Tongass to sell to residents of the region, from this story in SitNews.
This Juneau Empire opinion editorial calls for management of the Tongass to continue moving toward a sustainable economic model based on fishing and tourism and not revert toward the timber-centric policies of the past.
The Tongass will get some big screen attention this coming winter. Watch the trailer for
which won the “best cinematography” award at the 2012 Drake Fly Fishing Film Awards. The full length version will be shown on the 2013 IF4 Tour.
Another film to watch for featuring the Tongass and the debate on how best to manage it will be
Visit the American Salmon Forest
web site today. Learn about the Tongass 77 campaign, and sign on to support
this proposed legislation to protect the best fish-producing watersheds on America’s largest national forest.
Random Shots: News from Around Alaska (and Beyond)
If all this talk of Bristol Bay salmon has you hungry, check out the new Sockeye Finder
Facebook application to see where you can buy wild Bristol Bay sockeye at a retailer or restaurant near you.
Follow the Save Bristol Bay YouTube channel
which is adding some really great new video clips every week, showcasing people from Bristol Bay and around the country and why we need to protect this fishery.
While much is made of the possible impacts to fishing from the proposed Pebble Mine, hunting in Bristol Bay
would also be affected.
The CEO of Anglo American (one of the partners in the proposed Pebble Mine) is stepping down. Here’s an opinion editorial
from a lifelong Bristol Bay fisherman who says that the idea of Pebble should go with her, in the Alaska Dispatch.
The proposed Pebble Mine is featured in four chapters of the great new book [URL="