Commercial fisherman Austin Hill collects sockeye salmon pulled from his set net and piled on the beach near the mouth of the Naknek River in Bristol Bay. Naknek is where sockeye salmon begin their runs from salt water to the fresh waters of spawning grounds around Lake Iliamna. Phot Credit: Luis Sinco/Getty Images

Environment USA2. October 2021

Nature Wins Again: Goodbye, Gold Mining!

The decision to fully protect Bristol Bay located in Alaska, United States, against gold mining prospection is a massive win for the planet, the ecosystem, and the Native populations’ very survival.

From now on, through the implementation of the Clean Water Act in a number of Bristol Bay parts, the EPA protects the region against destructive human activities such as gold mining, preventing the extinction of most fish species and irrevocable damages done to the ecosystem.

“The Bristol Bay Watershed is an Alaskan treasure that underscores the critical value of clean water in America,” says Michael Regan, administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Today’s announcement reinforces once again EPA’s commitment to making science-based decisions to protect our natural environment. What’s at stake is preventing pollution that would disproportionately impact Alaska Natives, and protecting a sustainable future for the most productive salmon fishery in North America.”

Some 7,500 people live in the Bristol Bay region – primarily members of the Yup’ik Eskimo, Alutiiq, and Athabaskan Indigenous tribes – and they consume up to 1.3 million kg of wild salmon every year. Bears and eagles also rely upon salmon to survive. Mining projects would be harmful to humans, animals, and ecosystems alike.

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