In case you want to raise a toast to the man, Garden and Gun Magaizne suggestsa pitcher of his Josie Russel Cocktail.
From To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion
The recipe for this drink came from Ernest Hemingway's fishing log handwritten in June of 1933, where its ingredients were listed under the simple heading “Cocktail.” The name pays tribute to Joe “Josie Grunts” Russell, a close friend of Hemingway’s who ran liquor from Cuba to Florida during Prohibition and, immediately following its repeal, opened Key West mainstay Sloppy Joe’s. Hemingway was fishing on Russell’s boat when he wrote down the recipe for this drink, a potent blend of rum, hard apple cider, lime, and sugar. Sounds like just the thing to warm up a fall fishing trip.
One of the most compelling dimensions of the story on the battle lines of Pebble is the diverse coalition of stakeholders banding together to fight a common enemy. Anyone not familiar with their histories might not realize that in many ways commercial fishermen, Alaska Natives, and sportsmen have historically been largely at odds with each other, but have found a unified voice in recent years.
Personally, I have wondered how this collaboration is sustained beyond the battle lines for the good of the region, its stakeholders, and the fishery. One small effort is the Bristol Bay River Academy, which I have blogged about here before. I am once again in Bristol Bay for the 5th Academy and each year it is more succesful than previous years, so it seems. Yesterday, we saw an impressive display of collaboration on the water that was not only cool to see, but was noted by all involved as a pretty unique moment: Guides collaborating with guides from other lodges.
Look, I know so many guides, lodge managers, and lodge owners are really great people. But let's be honest, there's always a bit of competition, ego, and strong shoulders in the business, even amongst the most respected of outfits. Yesterday, though, three lodges pitched in to help with the River Academy and help guide, train, and drive boats for a dozen future leaders of Bristol Bay.
This year's Academy is being hosted by Mission Lodge and the morning started with planes from three different lodges parked on the same dock - Mission Lodge, Bristol Bay Lodge, and Tikchik Narrows Lodge. Add to the mix, the lead instuctor is Nanci Morris Lyon of Alaska Sportsman's Bear Trail Lodge. Quite the power team of Bristol Bay lodges, all owned or managed by some pretty incredible people.
Beyond planes, though, these lodges pitched in boats and their own guides for an exciting day of fishing, sunshine and lots of instruction for the students.
The Academy is a great story in itself, but every one of those guides I talked to yesterday stated some variation of this idea:
"Wow, this is great that all these guides are working together, having fun together."
"It is nice to put things aside and say hi and actually meet these other guides from other lodges."
"What a wonderful thing to work with all these guides."
" Never seen this before!"
Now it is nice in and of itself. However, fighting fights like Pebble require all hands on deck. No doubt. But maintaining a resilient industry and community to protect Bristol Bay for the long haul requires much more than rapid hands on deck. It demands collaboration in new and unique ways.
We saw that yesterday.
So, thanks to all the lodges for stepping up, helping out, and showing these kids how it is done.
It was fun, too!
[I have some great pictures, but the interent here is eternally slow out here in the Bay, so I will post those when I return to Anchorage!]
The chief executive of Pebble LP predicts the gold and cooper deposit in Alaska's Bristol Bay region will be developed eventually, but whether it will happen under his tenure remains uncertain.
"I think there is some confidence that this is a project that someday will go," John Shively said today in an interview. "And I actually believe that someday this mine will be developed," he added, referring to the southwestern Alaska site's 107.4 million ounces of gold, 5.6 billion pounds of molybdenum and more than 80 billion pounds of copper.
. . .
Then he ends with this gem: "Are we going to impact some fish habitats? Yes," he said. "Mostly rearing habitat, but we can create comparable habitat in that area. We are confident we have a plan that works."
. . we have yet to make up our mind about the project.
That is the common languge from groups being played as the mouth piece for the Pebble project. I don't know anything about the family in the picture, but I do know that Nuna Resources is a wholly owned ('non-profit') subsidiary of the Pebble Limited Partnership.
While there are numerous ways to dissect and critique this ad, but the sum of it is: the no position argument is most certainly a position in favor of the project.
Let's be honest here.
This ad is running in DC press like Politico this week.
. . . then I should tell you what is in the Watershed Assessment.
Here is my summary of the 2nd Draft EPA Assessment.
In its revised watershed assessment, EPA clarifies risks to Bristol Bay’s watershed from proposed large-scale mining, especially the Pebble Deposit. Not only did EPA clearly respond to concerns of the peer review, but they also took seriously the comments from independent experts who commented on the first draft of the watershed assessment. In this second draft, EPA draws from a range of resources – from independent peer reviewed science to Environmental Baseline Data released by the Pebble Limited Partnership – to characterize the potential impacts of large-scale mining development on the Kvichak and Nushagak watersheds creating a document that seems to have a more balanced approach to considering the full range of potential stressors; i.e., there’s less emphasis on the “catastrophic” failure mode and more on the sorts of “routine” failures that are more likely to occur.
The EPA’s a comprehensive risk assessment that underscores that large scale mining, would “at a minimum cause the loss of spawning and rearing habitat for multiple salmonids” (ES-i). Even with no incidents of catastrophic failure, large scale mining would – block streams with roads and development, reduce water flow in the region, directly eliminate up to 4800 acres of wetlands, and directly eliminate up to 90 miles of streams, and dewater an additional 33 miles of stream.
With as many as 5 new chapters, EPA clearly responds to peer review questions and concerns on issues relative to the mine scenario, risk assessment, understanding the hydrologic nature of the watershed, cumulative impacts for other mines and development, and long term impact of climate change. By doing so, EPA provides a more thorough understanding of Bristol Bay’s complex water system and notes that impacts from water use and water treatment could have dramatic impacts on wetlands, fish spawning, and fish rearing habitat. Finally, EPA clearly shows that in short and long term, climate change will magnify these impacts, particularly when considering water and waste management in perpetuity post-mine closure.
In this draft, EPA expanded their assessment of potential large-scale mining to include scenarios as small as .25 billion tons as well as scenarios that evaluate up to 6 additional mines in the watershed, with increases of habitat losses by up to 84%, a total footprint of 13,000 acres and with up to 39 miles of streams eliminated (Table 13-8, page 13-21).
Regarding the Watershed Assessment as assessment of risk, EPA underscores that
“Like all risk assessments, this assessment is based on scenarios that define a set of possible future activities. To assess mining-related stressors that could affect ecological resources in the watershed, we developed realistic mine scenarios that include a range of mine sizes and operating conditions. These mine scenarios are based on the Pebble deposit because it is the best-characterized mineral resource and the most likely to be developed in the near term” (ES-10).
During the peer review process, EPA was criticized for its use of a ‘hypothetical mine plan,’ based on published documents from the Pebble Partnership. However, EPA rightly notes that “if the resource is mined in the future, actual events will undoubtedly deviate from this scenario. This is not a source of uncertainty, but rather an inherent aspect of a predictive assessment. Even an environmental assessment of a proposed plan by a mining company would be an assessment of a scenario that undoubtedly would differ from the ultimate development” (ES – 24, emphasis added).
EPA not only clarified and deepened its discussion of Bristol Bay’s complex hydrology essential to its productive salmon habitat, it elucidated potential risks from potential failures during mining and post closure. Even with the most advanced technology for water collection and treatment, EPA underscores the high probability of failure and that failure could result in the release of untreated leachates for hours to months. And that in perpetuity, water collection and treatment failures post-closure could lead to indefinite release of leachates into Bristol Bay’s waters, impacting Bristol Bay’s rivers and salmon habitat for generations, if not permanently.
Beyond water treatment, the assessment conservatively details potential impacts from possible failures – pipeline, road, culvert, and even tailings dams. In Chapter 13, responding to peer review concerns, however, EPA also gives greater attention the many impacts that do not come from catastrophic events or failures of mitigation, or what they refer to as “induced impacts,” from associated development, increased population and community infrastructure, regional use of resources, access to resources from roads for ATVs and snowmachines, and added hunting and fishing pressure along any transportation corridor.
In addition to impacts from development, the peer review panel strongly urged EPA to more fully consider the broad range of impacts from climate change, particularly in light of post-mine-closure management in perpetuity. Climate change projection show an average temperature increase of 4 degrees C by the end of the century, with precipitation increasing by 30% annually and a total of nearly 270mm of precipitation (3-44). On their own these changes will impact the salmon fishery and populations. Without development impacts salmon might adapt to changing conditions. However, adding climate change to mine assessment scenarios raises critical questions concerning water management and treatment, tailings storage risks, pipeline and road or culvert failures beyond the life of the mine post closure in perpetuity.
By examining these additional impacts, EPA’s report paints a dire picture for the future of the watershed, one that mirrors the history of salmon habitat throughout the Pacific Northwest that has led to the “near complete loss of wild salmon” and utter dependence on hatcheries to supplement salmon runs (13-35). Leaving a startling future for Bristol Bay’s vibrant commercial fishing economy and Alaska Native populations, whose culture and livelihood depend on healthy and intact wild salmon ecosystems.
OK, I'll admit I've been in blogger retirement of sorts, not that it was ever a career. But I am pissed off, so I'm coming out retirement if only for a post or two, who knows maybe it will become habit again.
Look folks, I know there is Pebble Mine fatigue. It has been going on endlessly for about 8 years and really picked up steam as of late.Fly fishing blogs are constantly ranting about it. News media, especially in Alaska, remain saturated with the topic. Social media remains abuzz, espcially lately. You've probably signed petitions, online comments, etc ad nauseum. I get it. It is exhausting.
But here is the deal:
The state of Alaska is no friend to salmon and huge friend to industry. This year the state is on a fast track to try to "streamline" permitting, cut Alaskans out of the process, and open the door for mega-projects like Pebble. Now more than ever we need EPA's help and they are doing what they can. But, they need to hear from you.
On April 26, EPA released it's second draft Watershed Assesment. And in short, it says what we think it says - Pebble or any such mining is bad for Bristol Bay. In response to this Assesmsnet, we are half way through a 30 day comment period. Hence the reason comment links to EPA comment flying around through facebook and social media from Trout Unlimited and other hard working groups right now.
You've probably seen videos like this one:
Or this one:
Let me be crystal clear these are not simply some fluffy attempt to make you feel limportant, engaged or have a say. YOU DO HAVE A SAY. People are not just churning out this media, flooding the airwaves so we can feel good about ourselves, we are trying to motivate you to get off your ass.
So, get off your ass. Shit, you can even win trips to Bristol Bay. What more do you need?
Your comments count. Every single one of them.
Why am I pissed off? Remember when I ranted last year about how if you don't engage in conservation you have no right to be out on the stream. Well I still stand by that rant. And it seems folks can't take a few minutes to tell a federal agency to do their job and Stop Pebble Mine.
How do I know? Because comments are public record and anyone can keep tabs on how many comments are coming in and where they are from. And to date - only about 6000 sportsmen have commented. That is TERRIBLE.
Let's do the math - there are 60 Million anglers in the United States. There are roughly 5-6 Milllion fly fishers. There are 150,000 members of Trout Unliited (the disparity in this number is another topic that pisses me off), but yet only about 6000 anglers and sportsmen have written to EPA. That is someithing like .01% of American anglers. Are you kidding me?
You have time to post pictures of your awesome fish on facebook, but you don't have time to personalize and sign a pre-drafted petition to EPA?
So here's the deal. Stop reading this post. Go comment to EPA through this LINK. Heck, take note, tell friends, you can win a trip to Bristol Bay.
But now is the time, so go do it.
I will have a thorough write up on my two weeks listening to Pebble's presentations and the critiques offered by the panelists in teh keystone process/meetings shortly (I have 80 pages of notes). But this is worth getting out there now:
ISER Researcher Criticizes Pebble Data, Shively Shrugs Off Concerns of Hunters and Sport Fishermen
ANCHORAGE – Week 2 of the Keystone Center’s process on Pebble Mine wrapped up this afternoon in Anchorage, capped by an incisive appraisal from a researcher at the well-respected UAA Institute of Social and Economic Research. Steve Colt, a Professor of Economics with ISER, had this to say in a comment summarizing his feedback on Pebble environmental baseline document:
"It is fair to say that this chapter (of Pebble’s EBD), as written, diminished the importance and role of the sport fishing economy in the regional economy in a way that is not supported by the data. You need to recognize that this is an industry that is tied to the world market."
In response to a question about the noneconomic, yet very important experientail, dimensions of fishing in Bristol Bay, Pebble Limited Partnership CEO John Shively, brusquely shrugged off the concerns of hunters and fishermen, essentially telling them their money, jobs, and way of life don’t matter.
“You cannot assume that all the people who go out there are individual people willing to spend $6,000-$8,000,” said Shively. “There is a huge amount of corporate money that is spent that are largely tax write offs that supports that recreational lodge industry out there and so if we are going to do that kind of thing and make that information meaningful we have to understand all the different users.”
Sport fishermen are expressing their dismay as word of Shively’s out-of-touch comment spreads through social media.
"Our commitment and involvement through our sport fishing lodge on the Kvichak River generates over $250,000 per year through the Igiugig Village Council, which is a small community of 63 year round residents," said Brian Kraft, owner of the Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge. Kraft noted that roughly 40-percent of his customers are Alaskan or involved directly in Alaska business, and that his business spends over $750,000 with locally-owned air transport companies alone.
The Keystone Center was hired by PLP in December 2010 to validate their science and conduct a public dialogue about their plan to mine in Bristol Bay. Some 150-plus Bristol Bay residents, fishermen, hunters and anglers protested the start of the hearings last Tuesday in Anchorage.
Meanwhile, the EPA has spent the last 18 months independently assembling a fair, thorough assessment of the impacts mining would have on the region. The EPA did so at the request of Native corporations, tribes, and fishermen, and found that the Pebble project would undeniably harm salmon populations and directly threaten the employment of some 14,000 individuals who depend on Bristol Bay salmon.
An independent peer review of the EPA’s assessment is ongoing and expected to be released in the next several months. A final report will be issued by the EPA shortly thereafter.
More soon. . .
I know it raised a lot of hackles with the Boulder Fly Casters thought to host the Keystone Center. They caught some flack, and frankly for good reason. In this debate there is no compromise. And, no matter the potential good intentions of Keystone, they are being played as pawns in this debate.
But recent instances and admissions make it clear that Keystone is a willing particpant in said shenanigans by the Pebble Parthership to confuse the public and try to greenwash their terrible project. In case you missed it, Keystone kicked Dr. Dan Schindler, one of the leading experts on Bristol Bay salmon, off of their supposed 'independant' science panels.
Well, I'll be there listening to and calling bullshit when I see it and I bet these meetings are bound to be chockful of it.