An Alaska Native group on Thursday will announce that more than 44,000 acres of land near Bristol Bay, the site of the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, are off limits to future development, according to details shared exclusively with The Climate 202.
The move will make it harder for the developers of the proposed Pebble Mine to build a road across the land, posing another setback for the controversial gold and copper mine that the Environmental Protection Agency is already considering blocking.
The details: Pedro Bay Corp., an Alaska Native group that owns land near Bristol Bay, announced last year that nearly 90 percent of its shareholders voted to let the Conservation Fund, an environmental nonprofit organization, buy conservation easements on more than 44,000 acres.
The corporation will reveal on Thursday that a successful $20 million, 18-month fundraising effort enabled the Conservation Fund to purchase three conservation easements on the land. The new protections cover a portion of the proposed mining road, which would be used to transport ore.
• The protections also cover the most productive spawning and rearing habitats for sockeye salmon within the Iliamna Lake watersheds.
• Half of the funding was provided by the Wyss Foundation, Patagonia’s Holdfast Collective and Alaska Venture Fund. (The specific dollar amounts of the individual contributions were not disclosed.)
“Protecting this last great stronghold for salmon is critically important for the health of the marine resources, the land, and the people who live in the Bristol Bay region,” Larry Selzer, president and chief executive of the Conservation Fund, told The Climate 202.