Steven discusses the potentially catastrophic effects of the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
• At stake is an ecosystem that supports the finest wild salmon habitat on Earth. Each year, returning salmon transport millions of tons of nutrients from the rich marine environment to the nutrient-poor watersheds of the Pacific Rim, increasing production at all levels – from bacteria to brown bears.
• Strong runs of wild salmon are the biological and economic backbone of the Bristol Bay region, a place of internationally recognized importance for fish, wildlife and sportsmen. If the salmon are lost, so are the region’s abundant wildlife populations and commercial, subsistence and recreational fishing opportunities.
• The proposed Pebble Mine would threaten the world’s most productive salmon habitat and consequently the world-class hunting and $500 million commercial and sport fishery.
• Once constructed, the dam and 10-square-mile-wide containment pond could hold up to 10 billion tons of waste produced by the Pebble Mine – nearly enough to bury the city of Seattle. Due to the acid-generating nature of the mine’s ore body, the waste would require perpetual and intensive treatment to safeguard the region and its fish and wildlife.
I want to address the common questions that we get along the lines of, “Why hasn’t the TRCP taken a position on gun control?”
The TRCP was created in 2002 with a very focused mission: To guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish. Our mission has been reaffirmed over the years and is being done so again this year.
Gun owners are very effectively represented in Washington, D.C. What was lacking before the TRCP came along was a single organization to pull together the disparate voices of the hunting and fishing community to work together on issues related to conservation and access.
Very simply, others know far more than we do about the Second Amendment, not to mention school safety, the mental health system, weapons trafficking and other key components of the gun-violence debate today.
Mission drift is a concern for all organizations. That is why they create missions, visions and strategic plans to guide their actions.
The range of conservation issues in which the TRCP does engage is diverse and represents the interests of the millions of hunters and anglers in this country. From water quality, private lands conservation and marine fisheries management to responsible energy development and conservation on federal public lands, the TRCP works collaboratively with our partners to develop smarter natural resource policies – policies that promote the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitat, increase funding for responsive resource management and enhance public access for sportsmen.
We don’t do on-the-ground habitat conservation projects. That’s already being done by Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and many others. And we don’t do electoral politics – we don’t have a political action committee and we remain fiercely nonpartisan. In short, we focus on what we do best: advocating for habitat, funding and access.
It is worth noting the important role that hunters and anglers play in funding conservation in America. For more than 75 years, the Pittman-Robertson Act, which created an excise tax on guns and ammunition sales, has thrived, providing more than $6.5 billion to state fish and wildlife agencies.
While the gun control debate has dominated the recent news cycle, conservation, funding and access continue to demand our attention and advocacy – and will do so well into the future. The TRCP will remain at the forefront of these issues and will persevere in our efforts to uphold opportunities to hunt and fish for this generation and those that follow.
Congratulations to Elise Goldstein, the lucky winner of our .22 Browning rifle.
Elise is a biologist with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and was one of nearly 2,000 individuals who signed up as partners at the TRCP booth during one of the conferences and conventions we attended this year.
Last week we took some time out and got to know the new Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell.
Secretary Jewell has called sportsmen “critical partners” in assuring the responsible management and conservation of the nation’s natural resources. Whether it be fly fishing in a backcountry stream, waterfowl hunting in the Chesapeake Bay, stalking big game in the Rockies or bass fishing in Oklahoma’s Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, our nation offers a diversity of outdoor opportunities that is unequaled.
In the next century, nearly 40 percent of the natural ecosystems where sportsmen hunt and fish will change due to a number of reasons, including climate change.
Higher water temperatures in waterways such as Montana’s Yellowstone River negatively impact trout populations.
Drier and warmer weather patterns aggravate fire cycles in states like Oregon.
Temperature changes can push out native species and allow foreign species to disrupt the natural food cycles.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
CONSERVATION WORKS FOR AMERICA
In the last two years, policymakers have committed to significant investments in conservation, infrastructure, and reversing climate change. Hunters and anglers continue to be vocal about the opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations. Support solutions now.