Fall News & Updates
Summer 2019 Salmon Summary
Sockeye (red salmon) returns were extremely encouraging this year with a total commercial harvest of 1.3 million. The commercial Chinook (king salmon) harvest totaled 18,000; subsistence harvests were also strong. Coho (silver salmon) returns are currently well below the historical averages, with a cumulative harvest of 77,000 Coho as of September 13th, according to ADF&G. The ten year average Coho return is 206,381. Check out our Salmon Summary.
Unfortunately, many salmon streams haven’t had enough water due to drought conditions, which may be causing humpbacks (pink salmon) to hold offshore. (Thank you to Cordova ADF&G for providing this information!) All species of Pacific salmon are being threatened by warming temperatures. As water temperatures rise, dissolved oxygen decreases. It is important that we look holistically at climate change and do our best to reduce our fossil fuel reliance.
New Development Threats to Southcentral
DNR Gives "Green Light" for Oil & Gas Exploration in Controller Bay
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued a preliminary approval for oil and gas exploration in Katalla and Controller Bay in the Bering River region - a crucial area for herring and wild salmon. Please review the Preliminary Written Finding that states that new exploration is in the state’s best interest. Please see the following webpage for more information on how to submit public comments: Gulf of Alaska Oil & Gas Exploration.
Comment Deadline: Monday, November 4
Revoked Public Land Offerings (PLOs): 1.3 million Acres across Alaska Opened for Development
The Department of Interior (DOI) recently revoked PLOs that previously protected over a million acres of Alaskan lands of “critical environmental concern” from mining. Now, 200,000 acres near the Bering Glacier, north of Cape Yakataga, are open to mining claims (with only a 30 day public notice before development). EPC invites your engagement in monitoring the area and determining whether mining and safety regulations are being followed.
Northern Edge Gulf of Alaska Military Trainings: Upcoming Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement
EPC received word from Pacific Command that the EIS will not be coming in September as originally planned. EPC will be reaching out as soon as we know when it will be released. Public comments will be needed. The U.S. military cannot keep planning these biennial war games in the Gulf of Alaska in May.
More Critical “WHOLESALE ALASKA” Issues
Bristol Bay: NO to the Proposed Pebble Mine
Letters, emails, and phone calls to Senator Lisa Murkowski must continue. Remember, the Bristol Bay sockeye run is the largest remaining wild sockeye run ON THE PLANET.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: NO to Seismic Exploration and Oil Drilling in the Arctic Refuge
Bering River Coal Conservation Initiative
A N N O U N C E M E N T
EPC has been working tirelessly to retire the last 11,000 acre coalfield that remains vulnerable to development in the Bering, Martin and Copper
River watersheds. We have just received a six-figure commitment purchase deposit from Ayana Young, founder of FOR THE WILD. This is extremely exciting. We will need more donors to help with this coal title purchase that will essentially preserve three million acres of the lower Copper-Bering River watersheds from development. Join in with Jane Goodall in this exciting Keep Coal in the Ground campaign.
Eyak Culture Camp: Honoring Eyak Heritage
EPC’s Eyak Lake Home hosted an inspiring Eyak Culture Camp this year. Among our guests were linguists from the U.S., Europe and Australia, including fluent Eyak speaker/instructor, Guillaume Leduey. Cultural revitalization and language workshops were well-attended by Native and non-Native youth and adults. The esteemed linguist, professor emeritus, fluent Eyak speaker, and founder of the Alaska Native Language Center, Dr. Michael Krauss, died on August 11th, 2019, just before his 85th birthday. Amazingly, the Eyak Culture Camp attendees were able to speak with him two days before his passing.
Copper River Wild Rafting Trip: The Adventure Continues
This summer, we relaunched our rafting program from Chitina down to Cordova. Captain David Grimes, with new co-guides, Brad, Lora, Kathleen and Sophie, led an exciting excursion down our pristine Copper River. Stay tuned for details regarding next year’s rafting trip! (And, yes, those are Copper River rocks in the banner photo!)
What We Do
EPC is a Native-founded, grassroots, environmental organization dedicated to protecting wild salmon habitat, preserving Indigenous cultures and promoting sustainable communities in Prince William Sound, the Copper River Delta and the Gulf of Alaska.