Tens of millions of salmon are beginning to return to the streams, rivers and headwaters of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve in Alaska. They are in the final stage of completing a life cycle that began years earlier in the very same location and as long as the spawning grounds are intact and protected, these runs will continue to thrive forever.
But this vast, pristine habitat—home to one of the most important salmon fisheries in the world— is facing a catastrophic threat. Given massive discoveries of gold and copper deep below the surface of Bristol Bay’s headwaters, a foreign mining conglomerate called the Pebble Partnership plans to build North America’s largest open pit mine. Should toxic mining waste from the Pebble Mine find its way into the watershed, the effects would prove catastrophic to salmon and the entire ecosystem.