The Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve - Bristol Bay, AK
-- Mining claims inside the reserve are highlighted in orange--
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About The Reserve:
The Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve (BBFR) was established in 1972 by the Alaska Legislature and then Senator, Jay Hammond, to protect the salmon of the region from the potentially harmful effects of oil and gas development. The establishment of the reserve acknowledged the statewide economic and cultural importance of the bristol bay region. Bristol Bay wild salmon provide food and employment for residents across the state, total one-third of the world's wild sockeye salmon supply and for thousands of years have sustained the subsistence and cultural lifestyle of Alaska Natives in many parts of the state. The legislation establishing the reserve prohibits the issue of permits for oil and gas leases within the reserve without a resolution from the legislature "specifically finding that the entry will not consitute a danger to the fishery."
The BBFR, as defined by statute and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is an area of approximately 36,388 square miles, encompassing the drainages of the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers as well as portions of Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks and Wood Tikchik State Park. To this day, the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve is the only reserve of its type in the State of Alaska.
The Bristol Bay Forever Initiative
On December 20, 2012, Lieutenant Governor Treadwell certified an initiatve application for the "Bristol Bay Forever" (BBF) citizens' initiative. This initiative is "[a]n Act providing for protection of Bristol Bay wild salmon and waters within or flowing into the existing 1972 Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve."
BBF will help protect Bristol Bay by requiring legislative approval of large-scale metallic sulfide mines located within the watershed of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve. Legislative approval would take the form of a duly-enacted law finding that the proposed mine would not consitute a danger to the reserve's fishery and would be in addition to permits and other authorizations already required of mines operating in the region.