The primary month of the 12 months introduced a number of important victories in Alaska, two specifically, had been secured partly 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 Growth Plan within the Western Arctic. We are going to proceed to let you realize how one can take motion.
Victory in Bristol Bay
In a uncommon transfer, the Biden-Harris Administration used its veto authority underneath 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 dwelling to among the world’s best focus of seabirds, dozens of Essential Hen 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. A couple of million seabirds corresponding 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 assets 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 should always all rejoice.
Roadless Rule Reinstated
Essential 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 important for defense.
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 dwelling to over 40% of birds from throughout North America, together with Purple-breasted Sapsuckers and Marbled Murrelets, in addition to salmon, bear, deer, and lots of of different species of wildlife.
Because the nation’s largest nationwide forest, the Tongass additionally performs an vital function 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 incorporates among the nation’s oldest forests, together with among the world’s largest remaining stands of outdated development Sitka Spruce and Purple Cedar.
Essential Hen Space Threatened
As you could have seen, a Trump-era land trade nonetheless threatens the Izembek Nationwide Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to street growth. The Izembek Nationwide Wildlife Refuge lies alongside the Bering Sea aspect of the Alaska Peninsula, and is an Essential Hen Space and a chosen wetlands web site of worldwide significance underneath the Ramsar Conference. The realm often helps greater than half the world inhabitants of Emperor Geese, and a major proportion of the world inhabitants of Steller’s Eider and Taverner’s Cackling Goose. Greater than 82 species have been documented there.