Victories for Alaska’s Bristol Bay and Tongass Forest

The primary month of the yr introduced a number of vital victories in Alaska, two particularly, had been secured partially due to advocacy by Audubon and its members. We anticipate extra information to return out of Alaska within the coming months, particularly on the Willow Grasp Improvement Plan within the Western Arctic. We’ll proceed to let you already know how one can take motion.

Victory in Bristol Bay

In a uncommon transfer, the Biden-Harris Administration used its veto authority beneath the Clear Water Act to disclaim a proposal that will have developed one of many world’s largest open-pit gold mines in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Positioned in southwest Alaska, Bristol Bay is house to among the world’s best focus of seabirds, dozens of Necessary Chook Areas, and the world’s largest salmon runs.

The proposed mine would destroy 3,500 acres of wetlands, lakes, and ponds, and over 80 miles of salmon streams. An estimated 8-13 million pelagic seabirds forage within the space. Multiple million seabirds equivalent to Tufted Puffins nest in there. And as much as 75,000 threatened Steller’s Eiders use this space. Shorebirds, geese, geese, and numerous different birds flock to forage, relaxation, and breed on this astounding marine ecosystem.

Audubon Alaska and the Nationwide Audubon Society have been combating alongside Tribal and different area people teams for greater than a decade to guard the wealthy sources of Bristol Bay from the specter of this big mine. Greater than 55,000 Audubon members submitted feedback opposing the mining challenge. That is information we must always all rejoice.

Roadless Rule Reinstated

Necessary protections for the Tongass Nationwide Forest have been reinstated by the Biden-Harris Administration. In October 2020, the U.S. Division of Agriculture lifted roadless restrictions on greater than 9 million acres of Southeast Alaska’s 17-million-acre Tongass Nationwide Forest, areas beforehand decided by the U.S. Forest Service to be vital for cover.

Audubon fought this motion in court docket and publicly advocated with Tribes and different native companions in Alaska. Greater than 60,000 Audubon members submitted feedback requesting these protections to be reinstated. The choice by the administration to reinstate the Roadless Rule is a transparent results of our collective motion.

The Tongass Nationwide Forest is house to over 40% of birds from throughout North America, together with Purple-breasted Sapsuckers and Marbled Murrelets, in addition to salmon, bear, deer, and a whole bunch of different species of wildlife.

Because the nation’s largest nationwide forest, the Tongass additionally performs an necessary position within the stabilization of local weather change. Based on Audubon’s Pure Local weather Options Report, the Tongass Nationwide Forest holds 44% of all of the carbon saved within the U.S. Nationwide Forest system. It additionally accommodates among the nation’s oldest forests, together with among the world’s largest remaining stands of outdated development Sitka Spruce and Purple Cedar. 

Necessary Chook Space Threatened

As you will have seen, a Trump-era land trade nonetheless threatens the Izembek Nationwide Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to highway growth. The Izembek Nationwide Wildlife Refuge lies alongside the Bering Sea facet of the Alaska Peninsula, and is an Necessary Chook Space and a chosen wetlands web site of worldwide significance beneath the Ramsar Conference. The world commonly helps greater than half the world inhabitants of Emperor Geese, and a major share of the world inhabitants of Steller’s Eider and Taverner’s Cackling Goose. Greater than 82 species have been documented there.

You’ll be able to take motion right now by telling the Division of the Inside you oppose this proposal.


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