New Report Details Ambler Road’s Potential Impact On Alaska’s Kobuk River

The proposed 211-mile Ambler Road project, which would connect a mining operation with the Dalton Highway, has drawn the ire of conservation and environmental groups, plus Alaskan hunters and anglers, for its potential impact on the Brooks Range.

The Kobuk River could also be affected if the road is completed, according to a new report released by American Rivers. Here’s the Alaska Beacon with more:

American Rivers, a national environmental organization, ranked the Kobuk at No. 8 in its 2024 list of most endangered U.S. rivers. Threats to the 380-mile Kobuk come from the Ambler Access Project and the string of commercial metals mines that the road would enable, according to the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report.

“It is hard to overestimate the impact of this proposed road on the Kobuk River. The Kobuk River currently has no road connections to the rest of the world, which would make the Ambler Road the first to access what has remained a remote region up until now. The land, fish, and wildlife in the Kobuk River watershed are as pristine as can be found in the modern world. The Iñupiat have been excellent stewards of the Kobuk River for untold generations,” the report said.

American Rivers has been releasing annual lists of what it considers the nation’s 10 most endangered rivers since 1984. Factoring into the listing are any major policy decisions pending in the coming year that the public might influence.

In the case of the Kobuk River, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is due to release an updated final environmental impact statement and decision on the road in the coming months.