All posts by Chris Cocoles

Congress: U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers EIS “Lacks Certain Critical Information”

The following press release is courtesy of a conglomerate representing Pebble Mine opposition:

DILLINGHAM, AK – Congress yesterday completed a spending deal that includes a stern warning to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding its rushed and flawed permitting process for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The warning, included in a report to the appropriations bill that covers the Department of Interior’s spending, states that “the Committee shares the agencies’ concerns that the DEIS lacks certain critical information about the proposed project and related mitigation and therefore likely underestimates its potential risks and impacts.” The report language also states that “sound science must guide Federal decision making,” and further “encourages” the Environmental Protection Agency to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to veto the Pebble project “if these problems are not resolved.”

The oversight language was originally drafted by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairwoman of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, who stated recently, “I will use my seat on the Appropriations Committee to make sure that the EPA and the Corps hear clearly that they must address these, and if they fail to do so then a permit should not be issued.”

The inclusion of language about the Pebble project in yesterday’s spending deal is the latest congressional action to raise significant concerns about the Army Corps’ rushed environmental assessment and permitting process for the proposed Pebble Mine. If developed, Pebble would be one of the largest open-pit mines in the world threatening more than 14,000 renewable American commercial fishing industry or related jobs, Alaska Native communities, and $1.5 billion in annual economic activity.

Robin Samuelsen, a lifelong resident, Tribal leader and fisherman stated: “The Army Corps has done such a poor job of assessing and remedying the threats posed by the proposed Pebble mine in their rushed Environmental Impact Statement process that even Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on this one! If the Army Corps does not produce a revised EIS, we agree with our senior Senator and Congress — EPA must step in and use its authority under the Clean Water Act to defend our nation’s largest wild sockeye salmon resource, Bristol Bay.”

Comments on the Army Corps’ Draft EIS from state and federal agencies, as well as independent experts, detail severe deficiencies in the legally required review process being undertaken by the Army Corps, and call for significantly more work, including summer field work,  to be done before a Final EIS is released and permit decisions are made.

  • The Department of the Interior said the DEIS is so deficient that it “precludes meaningful analysis” and calls for a complete do-over of the DEIS. (Expert reviews, page 227)
  • The National Marine Fisheries Service said Pebble’s salmon work is “limited, sparse, lack[s] scientific rigor, and do[es] not fully assess all salmon life stages,” and calls for an independent third party review of Pebble’s fish work, as well as additional salmon fieldwork. (Expert reviews, page 576)
  • The State of Alaska said “further work is necessary to ensure potential effects to the human environment from each alternative are adequately evaluated and described in the (final EIS)”, and calls for a wide assortment of additional studies. (Expert reviews, page 440)
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said “we recommend that a permit not be issued for the project as currently proposed.” USFWS also recommended significant additional study, and said “We recommend more robust analysis be conducted to thoroughly identify, analyze, and reduce risks to these resources.” (Expert reviews, page 370)

“The fact Congress is finally stepping in is much needed and long overdue,” said Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “The people of Bristol Bay were promised a fair, transparent and science-based process for over a decade and  instead the process has been so inadequate it’s been universally condemned by scientists, local communities, Tribes across America,  federal agencies, and now the US Congress. The Army Corps shows no signs of taking these grave concerns about the Pebble project and permitting process seriously and our elected leaders need to take further steps to hold them accountable to protect the Bristol Bay fishery. ”

Press release from:

Bristol Bay Native Corporation is a responsible Alaska Native corporation dedicated to the mission of “Enriching Our Native Way of Life.” Established through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, BBNC works to protect the land in Bristol Bay, celebrate the legacy of its people, and enhance the lives of its shareholders.

 Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay is a national coalition of fishermen working to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska and the 14,000 jobs, $500 million in annual income, and $1.5 billion in economic activity that Bristol Bay’s wild salmon provide.

 Bristol Bay Native Association represents 31 Bristol Bay tribes & is the regional nonprofit tribal consortium providing social, economic, and educational opportunities to tribal members.

Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation represents 17 CDQ communities & exists to promote economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents through sustainable use of the Bering Sea fisheries.

United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association is a fisherman-funded, non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the value of the Bristol Bay commercial fishery through education, quality outreach, and marketing activities.

 

Study: Alaska Brown Bears Flock To Small Streams For Salmon Meals

The following press release is courtesy of Oregon State University:

CORVALLIS, Ore. – It’s a familiar scene to anyone who’s watched footage of brown bears catching sockeye salmon in Alaska: They’re standing knee-deep in a rushing river, usually near a waterfall, and grabbing passing fish with their paws or jaws.

But a new study published in the journal Conservation Letters reveals a different picture of how and when bears eat salmon. Most of these bears, also known as grizzlies, are dipping into small streams to capture their iconic prey.

Using a foraging model based on the Wood River basin in southwest Alaska, a study team led by Oregon State University determined that while small-stream habitats have only about 20% of the available salmon in the watershed, they provide 50% of bear consumption of salmon.

“This tells us that populations of sockeye salmon that spawn in little streams are disproportionately important to bears,” said study lead author Jonny Armstrong, an ecologist at Oregon State University. “Bears profit from these small streams because they offer salmon at unique times of the season. To capitalize on plentiful salmon runs, bears need them to be spread across time.”

Alaska brown bear photo by Jonny Armstrong, Oregon State University.

Small streams typically have cold water, which leads to populations of salmon that spawn much earlier in the season when no other populations are available to predators such as bears.

These results have potential consequences for how environmental impact assessments are conducted and evaluated for large projects such as the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

These reports typically focus on how the project will affect the abundance of salmon in lakes and rivers, but they usually overlook smaller habitats, Armstrong said.

“When people want to build a large mine, they think these streams don’t matter because they represent a small fraction a watershed, in terms of area or salmon abundance. In conservation and management, we generally place value on the largest runs of salmon at the expense of the smallest ones,” Armstrong said. “If we pose a different question and ask which habitats are important for the ecosystem, then small streams become particularly relevant.”

The researchers developed a mathematical model that explores how watershed development and commercial fisheries affect how many sockeye salmon are available to grizzlies. The model simulated different patterns of development and explored how they affected the number of salmon bears consumed.

Protecting large salmon runs at the expense of smaller ones turned out to be bad for bears.

“This causes the bears’ total salmon consumption to drop off faster compared to strategies that protected small salmon runs and the early feeding opportunities they offer to bears,” Armstrong said. “If you impair these areas, you may only reduce the total number of salmon by a little, but the number of salmon that end up in bear’s stomachs – you could reduce that a lot.”

According to the study authors, there are two significant reasons why the largest bears in the world are drawn to small streams to eat salmon.

First, the fish in these streams are easy to catch for adult and juvenile grizzlies. And second, because the water is colder than in lakes and rivers, salmon spawn in them earlier – probably to give their eggs more time to incubate, the authors said. So, the fish are plentiful by the first week of July – making them the first places bears fish after they emerge from hibernation.

“When they come out of hibernation, the bears are just scraping by and barely making it,” Armstrong said. “Having these streams means they can start eating salmon in early July, which is about six weeks before the river- and lake-salmon populations start spawning and become available to bears. It’s an incredible foraging opportunity for bears.”

Armstrong added, “I’m sure that native Alaskans who subsisted on salmon were keenly aware of this, too.”

Armstrong is an assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Collaborators on the study included Daniel Schindler, professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington; Curry Cunningham, research fisheries biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Will Deacy, a former postdoctoral researcher at OSU now at the U.S. National Park Service; and Patrick Walsh, supervisory fish and wildlife biologist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Togiak National Wildlife Refuge.

Funding for the study was provided by the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and funds from the Alaska salmon processing industry that support the University of Washington’s Alaska Salmon Program.

About the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences: Through its world-class research on agriculture and food systems, natural resource management, rural economic development and human health, the College provides solutions to Oregon’s most pressing challenges and contributes to a sustainable environment and a prosperous future for Oregonians.

 

 

The Tricks To Score A Draw Hunt Tag

Photos by Paul Atkins

The following appears in the December issue of Alaska Sporting Journal:

BY PAUL D. ATKINS 

Depending on how you look at it, November in the Arctic can be a happy time or sad time for most of us. Hunting is done, the berries are picked and it’s time to relax or wonder. For me I’m kind of caught in the middle.

The fishing trip upriver in early August seemed like a long time ago, and the few that we did catch were not nearly enough to make us happy. All those grizzly encounters in September still lingered in our minds as well, especially wandering through the kunnichuk and catching the faint smell of bear hide on just about everything. It was a great time.

However, my mind wandered and I started to think about the moose I didn’t get. It’s depressing, to say the least. But it wasn’t because of not trying. We searched everywhere, but they simply weren’t there.

My freezer was not as full because of it, so my thoughts turned to that “what’s next?” feeling. Luckily for us, the next cycle begins and it’s time to start thinking about the future.

For most of us this is the way it works, but if you’re like me and hunting is truly your passion, then you’re already starting to think about next season, which gives me hope. Everyone needs goals.

For instance, I’ve been thinking about doing something totally different next fall. For sure I’m going to do a DIY flyout caribou, moose and bear hunt with my son Eli, plus take my hunting partner Lew and my good friend Garrett along with me. It will be one for the ages. I also plan to head back to Kodiak for deer and, if everything goes right, Dall sheep will be on the menu. I just need a little luck and time.

Photos by Paul Atkins

FOR MANY OF US, whether we live here in Alaska or in the Lower 48, we find ourselves wanting, or sometimes wishing, we could hunt a particular species in a particular area.

What may be common for some might be a dream for others, whether it’s sheep in the Alaska Range, goats on Kodiak or maybe a coveted brown bear tag down south. All are obtainable with good fortune and some long-term planning. But some of these hunts require a certain tag that can only be obtained through a drawing of some kind.

Each year the state of Alaska has a permit drawing. As in most states, hunters can apply for certain tags to hunt a particular species in a specific area. Some are easy to draw and others downright difficult to get. I personally put in for several hunts each year, hoping chance will find me and I’ll draw that special tag. Then when spring rolls around, I anxiously check the computer to see if I drew it. I’ve been pretty lucky throughout the years, except on a couple.

Here’s how it works: Each year the Alaska Department of Fish and Game makes available a certain number or permits to be applied for and obtained by hunters, both residents and nonresidents. The number of tags allotted is based on animal population surveys that biologists do each year. These surveys determine the number of animals that can be harvested from a certain area. They then allow hunters to apply for these permits through a drawing.

The application period for applying for these hunts started on November 1 and continues through December 16 this year, with the results being posted usually in late February or early March. The drawing is species-specific and unit-specific.

All Alaska species are included, with some of the more coveted tags being Kodiak brown bear, Dall sheep, goat, muskox and – the one that has eluded me for years – buffalo. Moose are also included, with caribou and grizzly tags available in some areas.

Before November 2012, all hunt applications were done via the pen-and-paper route, but these days all applications have to be done online. It’s easy and ADFG’s website is easy to understand and navigate. Each hunt is number specific and hunters can submit up to six different hunt numbers per species.

Each submitter must have a current Alaska hunting license to apply and hunters who are successful may only receive one permit per species, with the hunts all non-transferable. These applications do cost money – ranging from $5 to $20 per hunt number – but it is reasonably cheap compared to most states.

Nonresidents have a few more rules than do residents, particularly when it comes to certain species. Nonresidents must have a guide to hunt brown bear, grizzly, Dall sheep and goats, but moose and caribou do not require a guide – yet.

Here’s something to remember when you start applying for certain tags in some of the more remote country.

It is suggested that if you are applying for a permit that requires a guide, you should get in touch with those who do guide in the area long before the application period begins. This way you can be assured they’re available if you do draw. Hunters should only select reputable guides who are registered with the state.

Hunters who plan to apply for a permit that doesn’t require a guide still need to do their homework. Most of these hunts will require a transporter of some kind. Whether going in by boat or by plane, you’ll need to be in contact with someone who services the area. Most transporters book early and often. If you’re lucky enough to get a permit, you’ll definitely need their help. Remember that a transporter isn’t a guide; their job is to get you safely from point A to point B. Most transporters are great, but not all are created equally, so make sure you do your homework.

Also, don’t forget that if you’re 16 years or older you must have completed a basic hunter education course to hunt in Alaska. Additionally, some areas require a bowhunting education course, which all bowhunters must complete.

Photos by Paul Atkins

LIKE USUAL, MOST WEEKENDS this coming season will still find me chasing caribou and moose, and hopefully I’ll be connecting on one or the other and filling the freezer. More importantly, I’ll get to be with friends and share camps in places that only Alaska can provide. Plus, who knows: I may get that bison tag yet.

To those thinking about the future, I hope you’re successful in drawing the tag or tags you want. Life is too short to just stay home and watch. ASJ

Editor’s note: Paul Atkins is an outdoor writer and author from Kotzebue, Alaska. He’s had hundreds of articles published on big game hunting throughout North America and Africa, plus surviving in the Arctic. Paul is a regular contributor to Alaska Sporting Journal.

Sidebar: QUICK TIPS TO APPLY FOR 2020-21 DRAW HUNTS

Here are a few strategies when it comes to applying:

Look over all the hunt permits offered and find what interests you. You can even look at detailed maps on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website to get a better perspective.

Apply early; if there is a mistake, ADFG will contact you and help you correct it.

Choose a hunt with high permit numbers. It has been my experience that you can’t go wrong with most hunts here in the state. However, some are a lot more challenging than others.

Make sure your application is complete. Getting the correct information in the correct boxes, typing in the correct license number and then paying the fee – all will result in a better chance for being successful.

Choose as many species as you feel comfortable applying for and can afford. I usually apply for several each year and usually draw one, and sometimes none.

Don’t give up. If you don’t draw this year, then try again the next. You never know what can happen. And besides, you won’t get that tag unless you apply.

More information can be found at hunt.alaska.govPA

 

Five Rods To Be Allowed On Kings Lake For Pike Fishing

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

(Palmer) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is increasing the number of lines allowed for each angler ice fishing for northern pike in Kings Lake from two lines to five lines. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, December 11, 2019, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

This liberalization aims to increase the harvest of invasive northern pike by anglers prior to their planned eradication from Kings and Anderson lakes in the fall of 2020. These are the only two lakes in the Cottonwood Creek drainage with an established population of northern pike. Located in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the Cottonwood Creek drainage provides the greatest potential for this invasive species to have a negative impact on salmon, rainbow trout, and other fish species, because of its optimal northern pike habitat found throughout much of the drainage.

“Not only does this maximize harvest opportunities for anglers’ ice fishing for northern pike but it allows anglers to help decrease the numbers of this invasive species prior to eradication and restoration of the lakes,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “It is the responsibility of ADF&G to remove northern pike from the Cottonwood Creek drainage to reduce the chance of them spreading further into uninfested surrounding waters.”

For additional information, please contact Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey at (907) 746-6300.

Getting Wild In Alaska

The following is courtesy of Mark Titus, director of The Breach and The Wild:

But First, The Tongass…

If you’ve seen The Breach, you know that I spent the better part of my 20s and into my 30s working as a wilderness fishing guide at Yes Bay Lodge in the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. This is the place I fell head-over-heels in love with wilderness and realized exactly where my truest home is. The Tongass is currently protected from rapacious clearcutting by a roadless rule that prohibits building logging roads into the remnant stands of virgin old-growth wild salmon depend on to survive. The current administration is trying to repeal that roadless rule and open the largest intact temperate rainforest on Earth – and its pristine salmon habitat to logging its guts out. Click HERE (then click on COMMENT once on page) to make your voice heard on protecting this rarest of and most precious places on Earth. As a gift for doing so in this Season of Light – here is a link to own The Breach for free and watch it over the holidays with your family.

Click HERE
Click BUY
At Checkout, Enter Coupon: EATWILDSAVEWILD

Thank you, read on for details about The Wild Tour
and Long Live Wild Salmon!….

Season of Light

There is a feeling alighting in me despite myself this time of year. Despite the daily dis-ease evident in our rabid consumerism – a belief that there is a greater song in composition through this dark night. A glow in the still-mornings that is a yearning for serenity. Like the peace of the still-water out in the salt of the Sound right now. And the languid tailbeats of Steelhead winding their way home in the Elwha River. A flickering expectation of something wondrous coming. A yearning for connection.
 Where We Are

As a species, our evolution toward tribalism was designed to keep us safe. We needed to band together to defend ourselves from large toothy-critters and warring factions out to destroy our extended family.

Tribalism is now killing us. We daily seek out ways to separate ourselves from one another and the natural world that sustains us. Rival political parties, religions, races, class-structures, cities, states, nations, – hell, we’ll find a way to fight over burger joints – Dick’s for those in the Great Northwest – In and Out for our neighbors to the south. (Seriously, everyone knows Dick’s tartar clearly takes it over the top).  See!?…I bet you’re thinking about the argument for your local burger joint right now.

Currently, the fierce, mindless political tribalism in our country is a divide leading us toward a morass my generation has never seen – one that hasn’t been this vitriolic and pervasive since the 1960s. It is pitting family against family. And just about every social issue I can think of is tainted by this enmity. Exceptt for maybe one…

At every single film-festival screening of The Wild in 2019, audience members who have been fierce tribal rivals have come together in a unified voice to exclaim a singular anthem: Save Bristol Bay.

Bristol Bay, Alaska is the last fully-intact wild salmon system left on Earth. Half the world’s supply of sockeye salmon comes from Bristol Bay. It supports more than 14,000 American jobs a year and contributes over 1.5 billion dollars to our economy – year after year. In the last five years, Bristol Bay’s wild, sustainable sockeye salmon runs have yielded over 250 million sockeye salmon returning to their pristine birth-houses. 2020 is expected to see over 50 million salmon return, again, to sustain new life for themselves, us and 137 other species.

People of every color, gender, spiritual-stripe and political affiliation across the United States are unifying in the belief that we cannot allow Bristol Bay’s headwaters and salmon birth-houses be exhumed by a Canadian mining corporation in its rapacious pursuit of short-term wealth for themselves.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently forecast to deliver their decision on granting the Pebble Mine a permit to proceed by May of 2020.

This is our last chance to save something perfect – just this one thing – just the way it was created – for future generations. Bristol Bay is a world treasure that feeds us the most sustainable and healthy protein imaginable. And it is a food source that MAKES ITSELF. Why would and how could we ever allow this treasure to be annihilated by the greed of a foreign corporation? We can’t. And we have to come together, right now, to make sure of it.
There is hope, through decisive action, on the horizon.

The Wild Save What You Love Tour – 2020

I have very close friends who have been working on protecting Bristol Bay for all of their adult life. For my part, I’ve made it the central work of my life for the last 9 years. There are organizations and impact brands who have made the preservation of Bristol Bay the focus of their work for justice: The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA); Trout Unlimited; Salmon State; United Tribes of Bristol Bay; Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay; Natural Resource Defense Council; National Wildlife Federation; Alaska Wilderness League; Waterkeepers; Slow Food USA; Tiffany and Co; Tom Douglas Restaurants; Orvis; Patagonia and many more…

All of us are banding together, right now, to carry our collective song of love for Bristol Bay and our demands for its protections to the highest levels of government and most importantly – to the rest of our brothers and sisters across this country we still love so desperately.

I’d like to ask you right now – in this Season of Light – as a gift to your children and your children’s children and this Great Land we adore, please join us on The Wild American Road Tour in 2020.  Our Save What You Love Tour…

JOIN THE WILD NETWORK

 

JOIN THE WILD NETWORK
The Tour
And now, without any more fuss, here we go…

  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. San Diego, CA
  3. San Clemente, CA
  4. Santa Barbara, CA
  5. San Luis Obispo, CA
  6. Esalen, CA
  7. Monterey, CA
  8. San Francisco, CA
  9. Napa, CA
  10. Sacramento/Davis, CA
  11. Tahoe, CA
  12. Salt Lake City, UT
  13. Helena, MT
  14. Butte, MT
  15. Bozeman, MT
  16. Leadville, CO
  17. Couer D’Alene, ID
  18. Washington DC
  19. Missoula, MT
  20. Whitefish, MT
  21. Sun Valley, ID
  22. Boise, ID
  23. Bend, OR
  24. Eugene, OR
  25. Portland, OR
  26. Olympia, WA
  27. Seattle, WA
  28. Newport RI
  29. Providence RI
  30. Boston, MA
  31. Maine (Location – TBD)
  32. Ithaca, NY
  33. NYC
  34. Bloomsburg, PA
  35. Dubuque, IA
  36. Madison, WI
  37. Chicago, IL
  38. Minneapolis, MN
  39. Kansas City, KS
  40. Raleigh/Durham, NC
  41. Asheville, NC
  42. Kentucky (Location – TBD)
  43. West Virginia (Location – TBD)
  44. Atlanta, GA
  45. New Smyrna Beach, FL
  46. New Orleans, LA
  47. Mobile, AL
  48. Anchorage, AK
  49. Fairbanks, AK
  50. Bristol Bay, AK
Firm dates are coming to you, right after the holidays – the tour will run from early February through May.
Save What You Love – RIGHT NOW

In the last few months, I’ve received dozens of messages asking how to help. There will be clear decisive actions to take as soon as we start the tour – but here’s what you can do right now.
  1. Follow @thewildfilm on social media: InstagramFacebookTwitter
  2. Donate to The Wild Education Fund. We have a full-blown education kit underway, right now, for grades 6-12 and beyond that will include a 44-minute version of The Breach & The Wild and an 80-page core curriculum guide for teachers. All donations are tax deductible through our 501C3 fiscal partner, Northwest Film Forum. Click HERE to donate.
  3. MOST IMPORTANTLY ~ JOIN US. Become a member of The Wild Network right now. Send an email to connect@thewildfilm.com by clicking the button below:
JOIN THE WILD NETWORK
After you click on the Button Above – here’s the rest:
  1. Write your full name (and phone number if you want to stay connected by text and phone)
  2. Write how you’re interested in helping. We’ll take whatever you’re serving up, but especially need help in the following areas:
  • Promotion/Marketing in each of our tour locations
  • Collecting  Airline Mile Donations
  • Fundraising for The Wild Education Kit
  • Finding/Arranging Lodging for up to 5 folks on the tour
  • Engaging Local Schools
  • Engaging Local Media
  • Engaging Local Chefs
  • Engaging Local Conservation Orgs
  • Policy Advice
When you write me at connect@thewildfilm.com I will add your name to The Wild Network private Google Group, invite you to The Wild Network Private Facebook Page and send you a link to our downloadable Digital Action Kit.
JOIN THE WILD NETWORK
…And if you want to go ALL the way, become a Wild Ambassador like our dear friends Michael Doughton of Davis, California and Carl Bressler of Los Angeles. Michael and Carl are working tirelessly on the ground in their communities to help secure venues, partners and rally their entire communities to pack our screenings.
JOIN THE WILD NETWORK
If you choose to become a Wild Ambassador – simply write Wild Ambassador in the Subject Line of your email to connect@thewildfilm.com– and in addition to all the digital assets you’ll receive for becoming a part of The Wild Network- we’ll send you stickers, postcards, flyers, info-posters and a Wild hat for $20 – which includes the cost of shipping. You’ll have everything you need to start promoting The Wild screening in your hometown:
If you are moved by wild salmon, by the grandeur of Bristol Bay – of Alaska – of wild places – of whatever it is that you desperately love – join us. If you were moved by watching The Wild, thank you – and now, let’s share that feeling with others.
JOIN THE WILD NETWORK
Our goal is to bring as many of our fellow citizens as we can into this feeling of saving what we love, together, by taking action. There is a plan – and I’ll share all the details of how we will take action, together, right after the holidays.
This is where the magic happens. Once we connect, we rise, hand-in-hand to protect the last best place for wild salmon – Bristol Bay Alaska – come what may…
…For the love of wild salmon, for the love of this Great Land, for the love of each other, join us now.
JOIN THE WILD NETWORK

Wishing you Serenity, Connection and  Blessings in this Season of awakening through the darkness. There is still light inside us – and more, glowing on the horizon.

In Wildness,

Mark

Students Learn In The Classroom In True Alaska Style: Deboning A Moose

Great Associated Press story on Alaska high school students taking home ec to a new level in true Last Frontier fashion. Here’s more:

The seminar program emphasizes experiential learning — the approach used when the students butchered the cow moose carcass that teacher Brian Mason delivered in his pickup truck.

“You can learn certainly about anatomy from diagrams and textbooks and videos. But getting your hands on an animal is a big part of the science aspect of it,” Mason said.

Mason killed the moose using a special Cultural Educational Harvest Permit from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which allows game animals to be killed for educational purposes.

Northwest Brewers Support Protection Of Tongass NF

The following press release is courtesy of Washington Wild: 

SEATTLE W.A. – Today, a coalition of breweries across Washington state joined together to stand up for healthy watersheds after the Trump Administration announced they are moving forward with a controversial proposal to eliminate long-standing protections for old-growth forests in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. A letter signed by 39 brewing industry businesses was the latest evidence of opposition to the new proposal, aimed to weaken roadless area protections.

“Breweries, brewpubs, and maltsters understand the incredible value in protecting our national forests as sources for clean water. Water is the number one ingredient in beer, a growing economic force here in Washington” said Laura Buckmaster, Program Manager at Washington Wild, who coordinates the Washington Brewshed® Alliance. “Protecting the Roadless Rule and the Tongass National Forest ultimately means protecting clean and safe drinking water which turns into the downstream beer we enjoy.”

Local media attention on this issue in Washington news outlets has been growing, including recent opinion pieces in The Seattle Times, The Everett Herald, and The Spokesman-Review. While Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is the first target for repeals of these hard-fought forest protections, many in Washington fear that, if successful, it will not be the last.

The U.S. Forest Service published a draft environmental assessment that highlighted the most extreme of six options (full elimination of roadless areas protections) as the preferred alternative before asking for public comment on the plan. Despite the fact that the Tongass National Forest is federally owned and managed for all Americans, not a single public meeting was scheduled outside Alaska or Washington D.C. A group of conservation and recreation organizations joined Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to hold a community public meeting at the Seattle REI flagship store on November 23 to offer local stakeholders, including Fremont Brewing, an opportunity to weigh in on old-growth protections on our national forests. More than 100 people attended the meeting and more than 25 gave oral public comments.

“Mainstem Malt connects conservation-minded family farms to brewers and distillers seeking change. Our work focuses on farmland, but at the end of the day, we all benefit from the clean water, habitat, and biodiversity offered by the world’s last wild places” says Phil Neumann, Co-Founder & CEO of Mainstem Malt in Walla Walla. “Let’s leave the Roadless Rule intact and lean into sustainable agricultural opportunities for our rural communities.”

Many of those who signed on are members of the Washington Brewshed® Alliance, a program designed to help the brewing industry advocate for clean water initiatives. Over the past eight years, over 60 businesses across Washington state have joined the Alliance to help raise funds and awareness for the conservation of healthy watersheds.

 “Roadless areas protect the headwaters and the source of clean quality water for fish, wildlife, residents and better tasting beer,” said Jack Lamb, owner of Aslan Brewing in Bellingham and member of Washington Wild’s Brewshed® Alliance. “Our entire industry depends on consistent water, sourced from protected water sources.”

 The Washington craft brewing economy accounts for $9 billion annually and employs over 6,000 people. Washington also produces 75% of our nation’s hops, contributing greatly to the national beer economy of $328 billion. In many cases, the source of municipal water stems from headwaters located in national forest roadless areas, the same ones that would be affected if the Roadless Rule was eliminated.

“You must have good quality water to make good quality beer,” said Pam Brulotte, President of the Washington Brewer’s Guild and co-founder of Icicle Brewing Co. in Leavenworth, Washington. “Being a small and independent craft brewer, we’re reliant on producing a quality consistent product so locally we try and do a lot to keep our river clean and pure.”

 Over the last year, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has already greenlighted two projects that allow new road building in inventoried roadless areas, the Olivine Mine and Excelsior Mine Expansions. Continuing to allow roadbuilding in roadless areas and allowing statewide exemptions sets a dangerous precedent for the future management of the Forest and in Roadless Areas. This puts small business owners who rely on clean water, value water security, and value great tasting beer at risk.

 

Background:

 

In 2001 Washington Wild led statewide efforts to establish the National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Nearly 350 conservation and recreation groups, elected officials, local businesses, and faith leaders formally supported the nearly two million acres of roadless forests in Washington State. The Forest Service held more than 600 public meetings nationwide, including 28 throughout Washington State. More than 1.6 million Americans submitted comments, including more than 80,000 comments from Washington State citizens during the draft rule comment period. More than 95% of comments submitted were in support of protecting roadless areas.

 

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule is a popular and balanced policy that protects nearly 60 million acres of undeveloped national forests from road-building and other industrial activity. It was developed over two years and issued by the Clinton Administration in early 2001.

 

Roadless areas are important because:

  • Sixty million Americans rely on clean and safe drinking water from National Forests. Roadless areas provide the purest source of water due to their pristine and road-free condition. In the Northwest Forest Service Region, which includes Washington and Oregon, drinking water on National Forest land is worth approximately $941 million annually, which is more than any other region or state in the country except California.
  • Outdoor recreation has become more and more popular over time as Americans participate in everything from hiking and camping, to hunting and fishing in Roadless areas. Each year the outdoor industry generates 26.2 billion in consumer spending and 200,000 direct jobs to the Washington State economy.
  • A majority of the unspoiled habitat for hundreds of threatened, endangered, and declining species is found in Roadless areas. In Washington, 25 at-risk species, including bald eagles, steelhead and bull trout, and Chinook salmon are found in National Forests and could be harmed by the building of new roads and the ensuing destruction of Roadless areas.
  • Roadless protections also make good economic sense by saving taxpayers’ dollars on the cost of adding subsidized logging roads to the existing network of nearly 375,000 miles of national forest roads, which have an unfunded maintenance backlog of nearly $8 billion.

Two Dogs Killed In Sitka Bear Attacks

Here’s more on the attacks from Sitka’s KCAW:

Over the weekend, a bear in the Indian River subdivision area did some serious property damage and killed a dog — the second dog killed in the last month. 

On Saturday night, Bethune said, a homeowner had left a processed deer securely hanging in a sturdy, enclosed shed in his backyard. But that didn’t stop the very determined bear.

“The bear tore through a wall of that shed, so it really made a tremendous effort to get into the shed and it took the deer. And then, at the same time the homeowner’s dog went missing,” he says.

 

Suspect In Polar Bear Shooting, Meat Abandoning Pleads Guilty

In July, a Kaktovik man charged with killing a polar bear but abandoning the meat.  This week, the man agreed to a plea bargain after pleading guilty.

Here’s Alaska Public Media with more:

Chris Gordon will accept a maximum prison sentence of four months and a $4,500 fine, according to a plea agreement filed Friday that was signed by his attorney and federal prosecutors. Gordon, a whaling captain, also agreed not to harvest any marine mammals for a year after his sentence, with the exception of bowhead whales. …

Gordon was charged in July of a single count of “wasteful taking of marine mammal.” Prosecutors alleged he shot the polar bear in front of his house after it was attracted by butchered whale meat in his front yard, and they said he left the carcass there for five months without salvaging any of it.

Gordon, in Friday’s plea agreement, acknowledged that those allegations were true.

 

 

 

 

Ice Fishing On Kings Lake Allows For Five Rods

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

(Palmer) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is increasing the number of lines allowed for each angler ice fishing for northern pike in Kings Lake from two lines to five lines. This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, December 11, 2019, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

This liberalization aims to increase the harvest of invasive northern pike by anglers prior to their planned eradication from Kings and Anderson lakes in the fall of 2020. These are the only two lakes in the Cottonwood Creek drainage with an established population of northern pike. Located in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the Cottonwood Creek drainage provides the greatest potential for this invasive species to have a negative impact on salmon, rainbow trout, and other fish species, because of its optimal northern pike habitat found throughout much of the drainage.

“Not only does this maximize harvest opportunities for anglers’ ice fishing for northern pike but it allows anglers to help decrease the numbers of this invasive species prior to eradication and restoration of the lakes,” stated Area Management Biologist Sam Ivey. “It is the responsibility of ADF&G to remove northern pike from the Cottonwood Creek drainage to reduce the chance of them spreading further into uninfested surrounding waters.”