On Wednesday, October 26, the Alaska Collaborative on Health and Environment (CHE-Alaska) hosted a presentation on the Risks Of Mining To Salmon And Trout-Bearing Watersheds with lead author Chris Sergeant. This recently published article summarizes the types of mining and the character of watersheds in the Pacific Northwest to highlight how mining affects our region’s salmon and trout bearing watersheds. Their research findings also describe the stages of the permitting process and mine development where potential mining-related harms can be identified and mitigated before they occur. Sergeant and co-authors write, “Considering that mining activities can have impacts that are long-lasting, spatially extensive, and costly to mitigate, there is a clear need to effectively link the science and known complexity of mining impacts to risk assessment and decision-making, particularly in ecosystems that support species of cultural and economic importance.”
Alaska Public Media’s recent radio show on Critical Minerals in Alaska described how existing and future mineral demands may increase the pressure to develop new mines in Alaska, including the mining of minerals required for a transition to renewable energy. Alaska is also home to the world’s most pristine and productive salmon habitat, and the state has already been grappling with how to balance mining and ecosystem health (e.g. proposed Pebble Mine). I encourage you to read the report by Sergeant et al. (available free at Science Advances website) and join us for a presentation and discussion of best practices for using science to inform mining policy in Alaska.
Risks of mining to salmonid-bearing watersheds (Sergeant et al., 2022) in Science Advances – https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abn0929
Mining and Community Health (REDOIL / ACAT – https://www.akaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Mining_and_Community_Health.pdf
Alaska Metals Mining (Ground Truth Trekking) http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Issues/MetalsMining.html
Mining in Alaska (ACAT website) – https://www.akaction.org/tackling_toxics/alaska/mining_in_alaska/
Previous CHE-Alaska Webinars/Teleconferences on Mining and Fisheries
February 24, 2009. Gold Mining and Mercury in Alaska: A Potential Threat to Fisheries and Public Health (Speakers: Glenn Miller, University of Nevada; Kendra Zamzow, Center for Science in Public Participation in Alaska; Bonnie Gestring, Earthworks).
May 26, 2021. Mercury, Fish, and Public Health Concerns: The Proposed Donlin Gold Mine. (Speakers: Gloria Simeon of Bethel is an ONC tribal member on the Board of Directors for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation and delegate to National Congress of Indians. Dr. Kendra Zamzow, Center for Science in Public Participants. Dr. David Carpenter, Director of Institute for Health and the Environment in the University at Albany and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences.)
Chris Sergeant is a research scientist at the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station and doctoral student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. His research focuses on freshwater ecology, long-term monitoring, salmon biology, and mining impacts, and he has worked specifically on the emerging pressures on freshwater ecosystems of southeastern Alaska. A more complete description of his accomplishments, research, and recent publications can be found on his University Montana webpage.