Director of Development & Operations
Tongass Forest Program Manager & Indigenous Engagement Lead
Inside Passage Waters Program Manager
Communications & Online Coordinator
Office & Operations Manager
Indigenous Outreach Coordinator - Juneau
Indigenous Outreach Coordinator - Ketchikan
To protect the special places of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, promote conservation, and advocate for sustainability in human use of natural resources. Inspired by the land, wildlife, cultures, and communities of Southeast Alaska, SEACC strives to ensure this interconnected whole exists for future generations. Stephen Todd Zach Brown Eric Kocher Natalie Watson Bart Koehler Bob Schroeder Clay Frick Marian Allen Ray Sensmeier Steve Kallick Steve Lewis Victoria McDonald Wayne Weihing
CO N TACT
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
STA F F
In this issue:
MOVING THE NEEDLE A new future for the Tongass
SOUTHEAST SPOTLIGHTS Southeast voices
President, Wrangell Vice President, Gustavus Treasurer, Haines Secretary, Juneau Juneau Juneau Haines Sitka Yakutat Seattle Tenakee Springs
WORLD OF WATER Protecting Alaska’s clean water
CONNECT WITH SEACC Find out how you can connect with and support SEACC
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council 224 Gold St. Juneau, AK 99801 (907) 586-6942 www.seacc.org The Ravencall is a publication of SEACC.
Editor: Bryn Fluharty Designer: Monica Sterchi-Lowman Cover Photo: Michele Cornelius
Make your mark protecting the Tongass with our new app, Tongass Imprints (on the Water Reporter app). Sign up today to start sharing photos of your favorite places or experiences in Southeast Alaska. Your photos will be added to an interactive online map. We’ll also add them to SEACC’s photo archive (with credit given to you, as the photographer), to help us show the places we love and want to protect when we are talking to decision-makers. It just takes a minute to sign up and start sharing!
1. Download the Water Reporter app on your phone
2. Create an account
3. Join the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council group
4. Start sharing your photos! Check out the website: www.seacc.org/tongass_imprints
Check out our new SEACC designs and other gear at our online store! www.seacc.org/store
Executive Director’s Note Earlier this year, SEACC staff reviewed ‘Southeast
Alaskan economy, like our simmering statewide
by the Numbers,’ the annual report of Southeast
recession, which is rapidly peeling high-value
government jobs off of Southeast Alaska’s tax
not-for-profit corporation that advances the
base, or the decisive lack of vision on the part
collective interests of the people, communities,
of regional leaders who, much like Murkowski,
and businesses in Southeast Alaska.” Southeast
keep trying to force Southeast Alaska back into
Conference has a strong industry-driven, pro-
the old, outdated, resource-extractive economy
development bias, so their economic data is
of our past?
useful as an example of the sunniest possible outlook on the Southeast Alaskan economy with a heavy dose of “log the trees/build the mine/the
road/etc” layered on top.
IT’S THE ECONOMICS, STUPID. In 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president against George H.W. Bush, campaign strategist James Carville made a list of three priorities for campaigners to focus on in their talking points. One of those talking points, “the Economy, Stupid” hung on a wall in their headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has been part of popular nomenclature ever since. “It’s the Economy, Stupid,” became short-hand for everything that was wrong with the country as it struggled to emerge from a recession under Bush’s leadership, and helped turn the tide to
firmly in my head these last few months as I accompanied our Tongass Forest program staff to DC to meet with lawmakers to talk Tongass, and to help defend our forest from Senator Murkowski’s
both the National Roadless Rule, which protects
well. Over the summer of 2017 we worked to protect Juneau’s mining ordinance from
When we took a close look at Southeast
proposed changes that would strip the majority
Conference’s numbers for the role that timber and
of its strength from the regulation. The mining
logging play in the Southeast Alaskan economy,
ordinance helps protect and require the City
we noticed something funny – "Timber" was
and Bureau of Juneau’s participation in a public
prominently listed in the same category as
decision-making process around when and where
“Social,” and “Info,” making it look like timber
new mines can be approved (and with what
and some related industries could be all of six
restrictions) in the urban parts of our community.
percent of the Southeast economy. We already
A small group of mining industry advocates have
knew that logging is an infinitely small part of
been advocating that the ordinance be stripped
our economy as compared to, say, government,
of its key components, all under the auspices of
which contributed 35.4% of Employment Related
recruiting a mining company to our region and
Earnings in 2016, tourism, which contributed
hypothetically adding jobs to the economy. But at
10.5% of Earnings in 2016, or the seafood
industry, which adds 9.6% of the same. But what do “Social” and “Info” have to do with logging?
elect Clinton. “It’s the Economics, Stupid,” has been stuck
We’ve seen this lack of vision here in Juneau, where most of the SEACC staff is based, as
We live in and love Southeast Alaska for the rich quality of life that it affords, with its sweeping
The answer, it turns out, is nothing at all.
mountain vistas, deep, wild forests, sparkling
A closer look at Southeast Conference’s own
waters, and vibrant wildlife – the same wild
data shows that “Timber” in fact contributed
forests, sparkling waters, and wildlife that buoy
a miniscule .7% (that’s point-seven-percent!)
the seafood industry, and make Southeast Alaska
the kind of place that future visitors dream of
Earnings to the Southeast Alaskan economy
seeing some day. Will our political leaders really
in 2016. The rest of the 6% being attributed to
insist on trading on those values so that logging
the “Timber etc.” category is actually the Social
and mining can grow?
roadless wildlands from logging, and the 2016
Now is the time for engaged political leadership
Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment,
What is most striking about
in Southeast Alaska, and the development of an
which governs how the Forest is managed. Both
Murkowski’s tunnel vision on the
economic vision that takes us forward, beyond
Senator Murkowski and the State of Alaska have sought to exempt Alaska from the Roadless Rule
Tongass is the extent to which the
for the seventeen years since it was established
economics simply don’t add up.
(and have been repeatedly rebuffed in the courts for just as long), but the present political dysfunction in DC and Senator Murkowski’s much-coveted vote and resultant horse trading have put our forest at risk to an extent that calls for a much more aggressive and engaged response than in recent memory. You can read more about our DC trip and the offices we met with on page 5, but what is most striking about Murkowski’s tunnel vision on the Tongass is the extent to which the economics simply don’t add up.
logging and mining, not backwards. The path forward is clear from here – leadership on more sustainable, locally beneficial forms of tourism, a resilient, carefully managed seafood industry, and support for the growth of sustainable local
include regional employers like SEACC), and, in the “Info” category, publishing, broadcasting, and telecommunications – which has nothing at all to do with logging in Southeast Alaska.
businesses is our future. It’s time for people like Senator Murkowski and political leaders here in Southeast to get on board with that future, or risk being left behind. It’s the economics, stupid – time to do the math.
So why all this fuss over .7% of our economy when our political leaders in both Alaska and in DC could instead spend their time addressing the real problems undermining the Southeast
THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS:
Kay McCarthy, Phillip Moser, Carly Dennis, Lizzie, James, and Anna Jurgeleit, Karla Hart, Luann McVey, Emily Ferry, John Sisk, Phil and Robin Bransford, Steve Kallick, Marlyn Twitchell, Kingeisti, Eagle/Thunderbird, Xéitl Hít, David G. Katzeek, Deborah Vogt, Carol Tuynman, Jim Stratton, Jordan Watson Bald Eagle Foundation. Cheryl McRoberts, Stefanie Jenkinson, Katelyn Dickerson, Sidney Campbell LCC Staff and Board. Eric Holle, Carol Tuynman, Heidi Robichaud, Scott Carey, Katya Kirsch, George Figdor, Cary Weishahn, Mario Benassi, Macky Cassidy, Stacie Evans
3 Ravencall Spring 2018
THE FOREST SERVICE: A NEW VISION FOR THE TONGASS? Tongass Forest Program Staff Timber no longer reigns on the Tongass.
finish line. As a result, the agency made a well-
communities, where there may be impediments
After targeting the biggest, most valuable and
informed decision on how best to utilize available
to joining a meeting “in town.”
easiest to reach trees in the Tongass National
forest resources to maximize local benefit – a win
Forest for nearly half a century, most of the
for all involved.
remaining timber stands are far removed from the road system, and much more expensive for loggers to access. Southeast Alaska’s high labor costs and distance from markets adds to these disadvantages such that today, timber represents less than one percent of all the jobs in Southeast Alaska, by earnings. In response to these constraints, this year the U.S. Forest Service began offering a more economic and sustainable sale with the Wrangell Island Project, a planned timber sale which was repeatedly scaled down until it turned into something that actually fits and serves the community it seeks to support. Projects like the Wrangell Island Project prove the Service can prioritize projects that work for our economy and environment over those that work for an aging industry out of synch with the needs and desires of Southeast Alaskans today.
The USFS Landscape Level Analysis process - an
diversity of stakeholders from the outset means
improved approach to integrated planning or risky
that recommendations get written by those who
show up at meetings, and when those meetings
The Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project was proposed in an effort to “improve forest ecosystem health …
community resiliency and provide economic development through an integrated approach to meet multiple resource objectives.” Instead, the Forest Service risks allowing a planning process that otherwise holds potential to turn into a timber-first
logging between 200 and 475 MMBF on Prince of Wales over the next 15 years. The Landscape Level Analysis process was originally intended to do a better job of doing landscape-level planning while integrating input from an advisory council of community members and stakeholders into the planning process. In
Wrangell Island Project
Outreach is an enormously important part of any public process – failing to engage a wide
Prince of Wales the agency received advice from
When the Forest Service first proposed the
an independently formed community group, the
Wrangell Island Project in 2009, it sought to
Prince of Wales Community Advisory Council
offer as much as an astronomical 150-200
(CAC), but did not do the necessary legwork to get
million-board feet (MMBF) over ten years.
out to all of the communities on Prince of Wales to
Fortunately for the Tongass, the math simply
invite them to the table before the process began,
did not add up. In 2017, after taking a hard look
or explain the extent to which the work of the CAC
at timber supply, economics, and associated
would inform the proposal the agency advances.
environmental impacts, and augmented in no
To have meaningful engagement in these kinds
small part by participation in the NEPA process
of processes, agencies like the Forest Service need
are held during the work day, the participants that are most likely to get to those meetings aren’t those living in remote, forested portions of places like Prince of Wales, away from urban centers – they are those that live “in town” and have a financial stake in decisions being made – often, representatives of extractive industries. As a result, at least one of the recommendations that is being contemplated by the Forest Service is way above what the island can sustain, if the people of Prince of Wales want to have any old growth or intact wild lands left to enjoy.This kind of process is problematic for the way that it engages and then underserves the people who do make it out to participate in groups like a Community Advisory Council, because it increases the likelihood that the carefully contemplated recommendations the Council makes will either be unable to be fulfilled due to resource limitations, or that the recommendations being made will be biased against those who were not able to be a party to the process – disproportionately hurting those who live in more remote communities or who are unavailable to participate due to subsistence or other priorities. At this time, the Forest Service is moving ahead with an environmental impact
by environmental groups, the City of
statement to analyze the potential
Wrangell, and community members,
implications of a series of alternatives
the Forest Service decided to meter out
for Prince of Wales, which means
a more sustainable, and much smaller,
community members and those who
5 - 7 MMBF to local value-added wood
did not have a voice in the earlier
manufacturers in Wrangell over the
process will still have the opportunity
next ten years.
to weigh in during the NEPA process –
This decision could be a watershed
so long as we continue to shield NEPA
moment for the Forest Service: it protects
from federal attack.
This spring, the Forest Service began
critical winter habitat for deer, while
a similar process on lands within
preserving motorized public access
the Wrangell and Petersburg Ranger
for recreation and subsistence uses.
Districts, by initiating the Central
It also illustrates the value of the
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
the agency makes a decision – one
Zarembo, and Etolin Islands. Cartoon by John Cox
of the reasons the NEPA process is
process guaranteed that the Forest Service made relevant information available to the public and decision-makers and allowed for informed public involvement – which is part of what ultimately helped take the Wrangell Island Project across the 4 Ravencall Spring 2018
Concerned citizens who want a say in the future of logging in these areas
so valuable to engaged community members and organizations like ours. That
Mitkof, Kupreanof, Kuiu, Wrangell,
significant effects of a proposal before
Project. The project area includes
need to get involved early if they hope to do extensive outreach beforehand, making a point of bringing conversations around land use into the communities that will be affected by future recommendations. This is particularly important in smaller and more remote Native
to engage in defense of their place, and to keep the Forest Service true to all the commitments it made in the 2016 TLMP Amendment. Contact Crystal@seacc.org to learn more about how to get involved.
Joan Kautzer, Joe Sebastian, and Karin Jettmar lobbying for the Tongass Bill in DC in 1987
IN SHOWING UP Meredith Trainor Earlier this year, the Tongass Forest team traveled
Lisa Murkowski would attach two Tongass-
to Washington DC to meet with legislators to talk
specific riders to the Interior Appropriations
about the Tongass. Our trip was long-planned:
package that the Senate Committee she chairs
in SEACC’s earlier years both members and staff
was putting together for the already-overdue
were a regular presence in the halls of Congress,
budget: the first targeted the popular and
advocating for better protections of the Tongass,
nation-wide Roadless Rule, which prevents new
against clearcuts, and on behalf of our Southeast
roads for logging from being added to roadless
Alaskan way of life. Because we have always been
wildlands; the second targeted the 2016 Tongass
a regional nonprofit and member supported,
Land Management Plan Amendment, the guiding
to save money the staff and Executive Director
document that the Forest Service uses to steward
would all share a single hotel room, piling in to
the Tongass National Forest, and one that Forest
try to get some kind of sleep and adjust to the
Service employees, community leaders, and
four-hour time difference before heading out
a wide variety of stakeholders worked for
to meetings on the Hill, to Senate hearings, and
years to develop. SEACC and both the Alaskan
other forms of engagement. Our staff sometimes
and national conservation community writ large
worked out of the offices of partner organizations
opposed and continue to oppose these changes,
like Alaska Wilderness League, and I think I’ve
even as these two very serious attacks on the
even heard about a visit or two where SEACC
integrity of the Tongass continue to evolve as of
staffers slept on the floor of other organizations!
need to be strong advocates for
This visit was modeled on those earlier trips,
Over the three days of meetings we did
Meredith Trainor, Crystal Nelson, and Buck Lindekugel advocating for the Tongass in DC in 2018
albeit with less cramming into hotel rooms and
We look forward to returning to DC regularly,
sleeping on the floor of our partner organizations,
Congressional offices, as well as participating in
and to bringing community members from
like my predecessors did. Our intention for the
a hearing convened by our partners at the Alaska
throughout Southeast Alaska with us in the
visit was to reinvigorate our formerly strong
Wilderness League and the Wilderness Society.
years to come.
relationships with Congressional offices, and to
It was inspiring to speak with staffers in offices
maintain and enrich those relationships in the
of longtime Tongass advocates and public lands
months that follow. I’ve written before about
supporters like those of Maria Cantwell (D-WA),
the critical and irreplaceable role that regional
Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Nancy
organizations play in organizing the grassroots
Pelosi (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chellie
and elevating strong voices from among their
Pingree (D-ME) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), among
ranks; we sought to reignite the relationships
many others, and it immediately became clear
we have with decision-makers in DC so that we
what a big difference it makes for those staffers
could ensure they hear from Southeast Alaskans
to hear from actual Southeast Alaskans. We were
directly, and so we can speak to our own visions,
able to share some of the persuasive economic
goals, and priorities for the Tongass.
arguments against a return to logging, and by
As it happened, in the month before our trip this year it became apparent that Alaskan Senator
taking the time to show up, we gave the staffers we met with (and by extension, the Senators and Representatives they work for) the personal
Interested in helping us to defend the Tongass? Get in touch! We’ll be thinking about how best to continue to educate members of Congress about our lives and values in Southeast Alaska in the months to come, so letting us know you would be interested in helping to deliver this message helps us figure out who the best messengers are, since the people of Southeast Alaska will always be the best advocates for the place they call home.
Tell the Alaska Delegation and Democratic leaders to PROTECT the Tongass. For more information visit www.seacc.org/protect_the_Tongass
TAKING US FOR A RIDE(R) In 1979, the Tongass was the first National Forest
The Roadless Rule has been under attack by
to complete a forest plan, which became law in
the State of Alaska since its adoption in 2001;
1990 under the Tongass Timber Reform Act. Over
the latest lawsuit was struck down in the
the years the plan was repeatedly fought over
District Court of D.C. in late 2017. Alaskan
and amended, and in 2013 the Tongass Advisory
Senator Lisa Murkowski immediately took up
Committee (TAC), a multi-stakeholder group, was
the attack, seeking to attach two “poison pill
formed to provide recommendations to the Forest
riders” to the omnibus spending bill for fiscal
Service on how to accelerate a transition to logging
year 2018. These riders aimed to throw out the
young-growth, resulting in the recent Tongass
2016 Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP)
Land Management Plan Amendment, in 2016.
Amendment and exempt the Tongass and
5 Ravencall Spring 2018
Chugach National Forests from the Roadless Rule. In March of 2018 the spending bill was passed WITHOUT these riders, a big win for the Tongass, although we anticipate that they will continue to be attached to future bills, requiring ongoing vigilance.
Photo by Kendall Rock
: A NEW DAY When I began working as SEACC’s Tongass Program Manager and Indigenous Engagement Lead in September 2017, I was new to the Tongass conflict. It has been a difficult history for me to take in, the most difficult part being that the Native corporations of which I am a shareholder have long been seen—and still are often seen—as the “villains” in the Tongass timber wars.
core of my Native identity that comes from the
Compartmentalizing profit from the planet and
Raven Coho Clan from the Humpback Whale House
prioritizing it above all things is what got us into
in Dry Bay. When I put my toes in the sand at Dry
the current climate change mess, so if we are
Bay for the first time on a rare hot day in May 2010
going to change our regional economic system to
and looked back at the lands under the Mount
be less destructive, we all can and should play a
Saint Elias range where 10,000 plus years of my
role in integrating the social, environmental, and
mother’s-mother’s-mothers lived out their lives,
economic elements of Southeast Alaska’s economy
I had never felt more profoundly at home. Dry
into a sustainable vision for our shared future.
Bay will always be my true home—and no act of Congress or title of “public land” will ever change
As a Native person with a background in social justice and rural development work, I
that. Many Native people feel this way about their
often see much more nuance in the issues that
To a large degree, SEACC and the local
have historically alienated Native groups from
Alaska Native community share a common
conservationists, especially when it comes to
purpose: preserving and managing our
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)
The beauty of being a young Native person who is both new to the Tongass conflict, and who has spent the last decade studying sustainable economic development options for our villages is that it’s easy to see the opportunity for creative solutions. SEACC will always work to defend the Tongass from bad policies and work to counter
natural resources for the use and benefit
the Congressional obsession with the pulp mill
communities, and as a community developer I know
of current and future generations. As such,
days. But SEACC can also find more diversity and
that in order for Native communities to recover
it is interesting (and regrettable) that the
from the social and economic hardships we face in
relationship can be so strained.
the aftermath of colonization, we need to maintain
economic causes of environmental threats, and addressing them at their root. For example: what
good relationships with each other—otherwise
ancestral homelands regardless of where they live
infighting can keep us from making progress.
today, and this can affect the way we think about
Personally, and professionally, I cannot contribute
public lands, and engage in conservation.
to that divisiveness. So at SEACC, we have discussed
inclusion in its work by focusing on the social and
if, instead of conservationists opposing any and all ANCSA land legislation, we actively seek ways to support these communities as they explore alternatives to logging? That way we work together
Right now, everything is in transition: the
to protect the Tongass for future generations,
regional economy, the Tongass fight—even Native
and support our regional neighbors in their need
corporations. The pulp mill days have come and
to make a living. To me, this solutions focus is a
gone. Timber is no longer king in Southeast. Native
community development and advocacy sweet spot
corporations have new leadership, and some new
where we can find economic, social justice, and
business models. For instance, Sealaska Corporation
environmental wins. These are the opportunities
has put 160,000 of its 360,000 acres into a carbon
I am most excited to continue to develop as
To a large degree, SEACC and the local Alaska Native
project that protects those lands for 120 years, and
SEACC’s new Tongass Forest Program Manager &
community share a common purpose: preserving
is actively looking at whether to put more lands
Indigenous Engagement Lead.
and managing our natural resources for the use
into similar projects. They are also
and benefit of current and future generations. As
reaching out to all other Native
such, it is interesting (and regrettable) that the
relationship can be so strained. Traditionally,
representatives of the “Landless”
communities not originally given
legislation that would “take lands out of public
land under ANCSA—to see if they
hands” and convey them to Native corporations,
are interested in doing carbon
constituting a “land giveaway.” But from many
projects as well. I like to think
Native perspectives, such a conveyance is not a
that we as an organization and
giveaway, it’s a return of something that makes
us who we are—even if the land ended up in an
advocacy role, and also increase our indigenous engagement. The question now becomes: how can conservationists improve relationships with all of those in Native communities—not just Natives who are already environmentalists?
imperfect for-profit vehicle that raises questions of sustainability. That’s an issue for us to work out as Native people.
Crystal and son Jude in Juneau
More and more, society is asking businesses to be focused on the triple
Just because Congress took away 100% of our
planet, and profit, and I believe it
lands, and gave us less than 2% of it back, it
makes sense for environmentalists
doesn’t mean that we are not on Native land when
we step foot in the Tongass. It doesn’t erase the
to shift our focus accordingly.
Photo by Eric Scott
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHTS < Photo by Kendall Rock
Photo by Sarah Davidson
KETCHIKAN, SAXMAN, AND METLAKATLA Irene Dundas
Ketchikan is a small city nestled deep in the
thousands of years. The Unuk is also host to the
in Ketchikan to help spread awareness of local
Tongass National Forest in southern Southeast
Brucejack Mine and proposed KSM Mine across
issues surrounding these mines. Later this spring,
Alaska. Once dominated by the Ketchikan Pulp
the border in British Columbia. Although BC and
Irene will be joined in Ketchikan by SEACC staff to
Mill, it is now filled with evidence of a booming
its mines are just upriver, they are separated
meet with local leaders and community members
tourism and fishing industry. SEACC has worked
by miles of remote, mountainous landscapes,
to share information on the danger these mines
in Ketchikan for many years. In 2017 two Tribal
making the mines appear far off and out of mind.
pose to their local river.
Transboundary Indigenous Outreach Coordinators
SEACC Indigenous Outreach Coordinator Irene
joined the SEACC team whose job it is to be on
Dundas, who focuses on Indigenous outreach
the ground in Southeast communities, having
in southern Southeast, is working to increase
one-on-one conversations with local tribal and
the public's awareness of the proximity and
municipal leaders as well as the community. The
potential impact these mines could have on her
Outreach Coordinators have a unique perspective,
community, as well as the critical role of the
existing strong networks to build meaningful
Unuk in determining water quality, and quality
relationships with individuals in communities
of life, downstream.
whose voices need to be heard, and can help lead awareness and strengthen partnerships. Nearby
Through community mobilization and working hand in hand with Tribes, we can get critical
information about potential threats to the Unuk
Saxman and Metlakatla have relied on the natural
out to tribal and community members. We have
abundance from the nearby Unuk River for
been in meaningful talks with local tribal leaders
There is power in knowledge and speaking up, together. SEACC is working with the communities of Southeast Alaska to help strengthen and grow the sense of love of place that is deep-rooted in individuals of all generations and build a greater understanding of the issues that are in their backyard. It is together that we can, and will, protect our rivers for today and far into the future. To get engaged, contact SEACC’s Indigenous Outreach
( iren e@sea c c .org)
Irene H ea th er
Dundas Ev oy
ANGOON Heather Evoy Since
Angoon, a remote seaside community of roughly 450 people on the western side of Admiralty Island, has been home to the Xootsnoowú Kwan Tlingit people. Xootsnoowú, "fortress of brown bears" in Tlingit, is aptly named as Admiralty has one of the densest brown bear (grizzly) populations in the world. Designated a National Monument in 1978, Admiralty Island National Monument is a pristine temperate rainforest full of life and lush beauty found in few other places in the world. The Tlingit people of Angoon have always held a deep relationship with the natural world around them and their culture has largely centered on a rich subsistence lifestyle provided by their clean land and water. For thousands of years they have gathered food and hunted on land and sea
7 Ravencall Spring 2018
including seals, clams, salmon, halibut, seaweed,
concerned and want increased transparency and
beach greens, and deer.
collaboration with the state and federal agencies
In February 2018, SEACC staff traveled to
that regulate the mine.
Angoon and held meetings with the Angoon
SEACC is working with the people of Angoon to
Community Association, city officials, spoke with
push the U.S. Forest Service to repeat a baseline
elementary and high school students, and showed
study of Hawk Inlet conducted in 1978-79 in order
our newest film, "Irreparable Harm," featuring
to fully understand the mine’s impacts on the
the community of Angoon and highlighting
marine and upland environments by investigating
the threats from nearby large-scale industrial
the diversity of life within the intertidal zone. We
mining to their wild foods.
must not go blindly into our world but instead
The Tlingit of Angoon have successfully been the stewards of the land for over 10,000 years. Today, community members fear that their food and way of life may be threatened by toxins in the water from the nearby Hecla Greens Creek Mine in Hawk Inlet. As the mine is seeking to expand their tailings dump, community members are
work to illuminate the true impact of mines on our land, water, and communities. The risk communities bear by not knowing if their land and water is being contaminated is unacceptable – help us call on the Forest Service and DEC to require a repeat of the baseline study by signing our petition at www.seacc.org/tier_3_action.
Photo by Allie Gross
MORE PRECIOUS THAN
Guy Archibald It may seem impossible that a city today would allow a mine to open just above the heart of downtown, but in Juneau, that could be the case. The mountains surrounding our fair city are pocked with the remnants of historic mines on which the city was founded. Today, Juneau is a bustling urban center and the heart of Alaskan politics, and while mining is just out of sight, there are some who would see a return of this boom to bust industry.
communication, and durable decision-making." The subcommittee began meeting in November 2017, and sought clarification on numerous issues. In November, they commissioned a report looking at the central allegation that the Mining Ordinance duplicates state and federal regulations. Later, they requested that the City Attorney revise the ordinance to clarify language the committee found confusing, and on February 8th 2018, adopted her draft version. During this
The conversation around mining in Juneau has
same meeting, a subset of subcommittee members
been alive for many years and resulted in the
contemplated removing the requirement for a
current CBJ Mining Ordinance, which regulates
socioeconomic impact study from the ordinance
mining in Juneau's urban core. The ordinance
prior to a point in the process that engaged
gives a voice to locals while allowing for the
public participation and feedback, and without
possibility of responsible mining.
In May 2017 a proposal advanced by individuals with close ties to the mining industry was brought to the city's Committee of the Whole.
have claimed that state and federal permits are sufficient to protect Juneau's interests and "that the loss of any state or federal permit would result in the revocation of Juneau's permit." That might sound reasonable, but despite numerous violations, no mine has ever had a state or federal permit revoked in the entire history of Alaska - so why should we expect a mine here to be different? The current ordinance gives CBJ more discretion by allowing the Commission to suspend or revoke a CBJ permit if an operator is in "material and substantial" noncompliance. It is good policy for CBJ to retain its authority to enforce local concerns.
On March 1st, 2018 the subcommittee heard
report nor a related report commissioned by
from the people of Juneau who wrote in and
testified overwhelmingly in favor of keeping
Those who would see the ordinance gutted
the ordinance, with the socioeconomic analysis intact. Two weeks later, on March 12th the
This proposal would strip the CBJ's power to
understanding how a mine might impact the
enforce local regulations.
It would also reduce
fabric of life in Juneau. It allows us to look at the
the opportunity for public participation, leaving
potential costs to our society that are impossible
community members in Juneau almost voiceless
to put a dollar amount on, costs like the loss of
in the conversation around how to protect our
access to favorite trails, increased crime, and
home from the potentially detrimental effects of
increases in the cost of living. Without it, the
mining. A subcommittee was created and tasked
Planning Commission would lack any basis for
with making a recommendation to the Committee
identifying and mitigating these impacts. Luckily,
Is Juneau more precious than gold? By far.
of the Whole on next steps.
the subcommittee decided to seek feedback from
Mining is a risky endeavor, and the risks we
members of the public before going forward
bear are great. SEACC will continue working with
with the planned removal of the socioeconomic
Assembly members, the Planning Commission,
study, and the community showed up in droves
and members of our community to ensure that
to support keeping it in!
we keep our voice and above all protect this place
From the start, the City Manager warned that a clear, deliberative process was necessary, that "success in discussing this topic requires special handling, patience, substantial public
subcommittee voted to recommend keeping the majority of the ordinance intact. We applaud this decision, the first step in keeping the ordinance. Next, the proposal will go back to the Committee of the Whole and then on to the Planning Commission for review.
that we all love.
WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW BEFORE THEY GROW Guy Archibald
the inlet, and we risk endangering our wildlife
to an abundance of wildlife and wild lands so
Admiralty Island National Monument is home
surrounding environment have increased six
and communities who depend on the wild foods
unique that in 1978 it inspired President Carter
times. Winds have spread dust from the tailings
provided. The Forest Service must repeat the
to designate the island as a national monument.
dump thousands of feet into the surrounding
pre-mining baseline studies prior to allowing
The island also hosts the Hecla Greens Creek
forest, and in nearby Hawk Inlet, over an acre of
yet another expansion of the tailings dump.
Mine, which, in 2018, will be seeking the third
sediments near the loading facility are now too
State and federal agencies cannot keep making
expansion of their tailings dump. The dump, an
toxic to maintain aquatic life.
decisions while ignoring how those decisions are
enormous pit of mine tailings, already contains around 9 million tons of toxic waste. The mine has been allowed to operate on the public land so
In 2015, SEACC worked with Friends of Admiralty Island to reassess Hawk Inlet. Three years of
affecting the health of the environment and the people that depend on it for sustenance.
data showed evidence that toxic chemicals are
Discover the beauty of Admiralty Island and hear
concentrating and moving up the food chain,
from the people of Angoon about the importance
including a harbor seal liver sample with 220
of Hawk Inlet for their way of life in SEACCâ€™s
In the 1970â€™s, rigorous studies were conducted
parts per million of mercury. This level of mercury
new short film Irreparable Harm, now screening
in order to create a baseline understanding of
is 16 times the highest seal liver mercury level
around the country.
aquatic life in adjacent Hawk Inlet and to be
ever recorded in Alaska. People from surrounding
later replicated to measure the impacts of the
communities including Angoon, Hoonah, and
mine on the surrounding environment. This
Juneau have all gathered food from Hawk Inlet
baseline data was hidden from public view until
for thousands of years. Our findings have caused
SIGN OUR PETITION
SEACC uncovered it in 2013. Since then, state and
people in these communities to question the
asking for a repeat of the baseline studies
federal agencies have refused numerous requests
health and safety of their traditionally gathered
to duplicate these studies in order to get a true
long as the mine create no irreparable harm to the monument.
picture of how this mine is affecting public lands and waters.
8 Ravencall Spring 2018
understand the impact the mine has had on
Find a film screening of Irreparable Harm www.seacc.org/irreparable_harm
Photo by Joe Ordoñez
Sarah Davidson 20 years.
-- CURRENT NOMINATIONS --
That’s how long the State
of Alaska has been out of compliance with
the Clean Water Act by denying Alaskans
The Chilkat River, Jilkaat Heeni or “storage
A tributary of the Yukon, the Chandalar River
the right to designate our waters for Tier
container for salmon” in Tlingit, was nominated in
was nominated for Tier 3 designation in 2016 by
3 protections. Although they have defined
2016 by the Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan. Its
the Venetie Village Council. The main stem begins
what a Tier 3 water is, they have yet to lay
headwaters rise from the Chilkat Glacier in British
where the North Fork Chandalar and the Middle
the path to designating one, leaving us in
Columbia and flow southwest to the head of Chilkat
Fork Chandalar meet, flowing southeast through
limbo. While we are not yet able to protect
Inlet, one mile southwest of Haines, Alaska.
Alaska’s northern interior, and joining the Yukon
our water, the state is continuing to permit
KEY SPECIES: All five species of Pacific salmon,
discharges of toxic substances into our waterways – the very waterways that we rely on to eat, drink, and live. It should not
wolverines, wolves, brown and black bears,
artic grayling, charr, lake trout, and caribou. THREATS: Placer mining.
gold, silver, copper, and zinc mine.
Despite not yet having a path to designation, throughout
KEY SPECIES: Northern pike, sheefish, salmon,
THREATS: Palmer Project, a controversial proposed
protect them, but in Alaska, it is.
anadromous eulachon and trout, mountain goats, moose, bald eagles.
be easier to pollute our waters than it is to
River 20 miles northwest of Fort Yukon.
YAKUTAT FORELANDS/ ALSEK RIVER
standing up to protect their waters. Four
Nominated in 2016 by the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe,
Alaskan waterbodies have been nominated
Nominated in 2009, the Koktuli River is in the
the Forelands extends about 50 miles between
for Tier 3 status, also called Outstanding
watershed hosting the world-class Bristol Bay
Yakutat Bay and the Alsek River, and is composed of
fishery. It begins at Lake Iliamna and flows into
marshes, shrubs, rivers, and forests. The Forelands
their ecological, economic, or recreational
the Mulchatna River, joining the Nushagak River
are known for enormous bird migrations, wildlife
importance, and others are currently in
that empties into an inlet of Bristol Bay, east of
viewing, sport fishing, and outdoor recreation.
process. A Tier 3 water is offered the highest
level of protection and no long-term pollution is allowed. Our waters here in Alaska are exceptional and are the lifeblood of our state, land, and communities. Nominating
KEY SPECIES: All five species of Pacific salmon,
KEY SPECIES: All five species of Pacific salmon,
Dolly Varden, rainbow trout, grayling, caribou,
eulachon, moose, goat, brown and black bears,
moose, and brown bear.
whales, seals, sea lions, and several varieties of
a Tier 3 water sends a clear message to the
THREATS: Pebble Project, a controversial proposed
Department of Environmental Conservation
copper and gold mine.
birds. THREATS: Mine exploration upstream in the Alsek Watershed, in British Columbia and the Yukon
(DEC), which is in charge of implementing the process, that our waters are in need of
protection to remain outstanding and that our communities are willing to do what it
For more information and to sign our petition asking for a moratorium
takes to keep them that way.
on discharge permits www.seacc.org/tier_3_action
STANDING UP FOR THE CHILKAT: TAKING THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT TO COURT Sarah Davidson On
well-being, cultural traditions, and as a local
decision-making in connection with other mining
economic driver, may simply see protecting the
projects, helping to make sure they’re evaluated
group comprised of a Tribal Government and
river as common sense. After all, we defend what
comprehensively, and take account of negative
we need to survive. Put more eloquently by Jacques
socioeconomic impacts on nearby communities.
organizations collectively stood up for the Chilkat
Cousteau, “we protect what we love.” With such
River, near Haines, Alaska in the upper Lynn
an astounding natural convergence of rich wildlife,
Canal. Represented by Earthjustice, SEACC and
thriving vegetation, abundant rainfall, and unique
partners filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land
geological phenomena all in one valley, it should
Management (BLM) for failing to consider impacts
not come as a surprise that we are willing to do all
of a large-scale mine development before allowing
that we can to ensure the highest protection for
a mine-exploration project to advance upstream of
this river and region, including taking legal action
the Chilkat Valley, one of the most dynamic and
to protect it. But it is, in fact, remarkable. Here are
productive systems in the world. The valley is
three reasons why.
home to the Native Village of Klukwan and boasts world-class commercial fishing, heli-skiing, and the largest gathering of bald eagles worldwide. The complaint, filed with the Federal District Court in Anchorage, challenges two decisions which BLM authorized in 2016 and 2017 that permitted the Canadian company, Constantine Metal Resources Ltd.,
exploration for the Palmer Project in the Chilkat Watershed. Those who understand the importance of the Chilkat as a source of food, water, livelihood, 9 Ravencall Spring 2018
Third, it’s changing the conversation about land management. Managing large areas of land in short-term and isolated increments is ineffective and irresponsible. This case points out that the government must consider the overall impacts on ecosystems, human health, and safety prior to permitting projects. It emphasizes that attention must be paid to community and ecosystem protections
First, it is addressing an agency practice that must
process. This is a significant and important
change. The BLM has approved incremental and
clarification for land management on a national
piecemeal permit applications without taking into
scale, evaluating the impact of the sum of the
account the impact of a mine. Our case points out
whole mine, not its individual parts.
that BLM must consider the impacts of a fullblown mine in the exploration process in order to understand the consequences of its decisions.
This is a remarkable move because it is a remarkable place. The Chilkat inspires those who visit its banks and provides for those who live there.
Second, it has implications for other mine projects
We must look beyond what the established practices
beyond the Chilkat Valley. BLM’s procedure at the
are and forward to a sustainable future. SEACC
Constantine Mine is consistent with its practice
will continue working with local communities to
at other mine projects.
ensure that we are all able to thrive.
A successful challenge
here could be a first step to improving agency
Photo by Charles Sidlinger
LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS THE ROLE OF MEMBERSHIP IN 2018 Maggie Rabb
SEACC is first and foremost a grassroots conservation organization and this past year has reminded us how important grassroots activism is in times of transition and political vulnerability nationwide. SEACC fights to protect Southeastâ€™s wild forests and clean water and we cannot do this important work without our supporters and members. Your dollars help support our work financially and give weight to our shared voice in the halls of power, whether across the country in Washington DC, or right here in Juneau. The ability to share with our city officials and our state and national representatives that SEACC represents a tremendous network of individuals gives all of our voices more power. Help us speak for Southeast - become a member with a simple $35 annual donation, and lend your voice and grow our power in this fight.
Supporter Spotlight: Sonia Ibarra, PhD Candidate, University of Alaska Fairbanks Juneau, Alaska If you head to Prince of Wales or Kupreanof
come to admire his work. For both Sonia and Guy,
Island you may meet Sonia Ibarra, a fisheries PhD
a critical piece of understanding and protecting
students from the
candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
the land and water of Southeast is understanding
local high school
For six years, Sonia lived and worked throughout
the history of the place and its people. By asking
it is no longer a
the Southeast, studying the impact of sea otters
questions and listening to local knowledge, we
stretch of sand but
on customary and traditional foods harvested by
are able to gain a deeper understanding, and have
a place rich with
local communities. Her work has focused on the
a greater impact helping to protect the land and
stories, science, and
communities of Hydaburg, Craig, and Klawock,
water of Southeast.
opportunity. It is a place
remote communities on Prince of Wales Island, and Kake on Kupreanof Island, in southern Southeast Alaska. There she has worked with Native communities, melding her work as a biologist with local traditional knowledge and the history of the local people whose families have lived on the island since time immemorial. For Sonia it is not just gathering data, but a deeper understanding of the people and place that drives her work. Over the years she has worked with SEACC staff scientist Guy Archibald and has
For Sonia, SEACCâ€™s work on mining in Alaska and across the border in British Columbia is particularly important, especially when it comes to helping local communities keep their access to their traditional foods. By keeping our environment and marine life healthy we are also supporting healthy communities. Southeast Alaska is a place abounding in wild beauty and rich history. It is this history that
that binds and unifies us in our work protecting Southeast today a n d i n t o t h e future. Sonia looks forward to working with SEACC here in Juneau and throughout Southeast Alaska to protect this special place through a better understanding of the science and community that make it so unique. You can check out more information on her work here: http://apecs-ak.org/blog/
transforms the landscape for Sonia. As she walks
Photo by Bob Christensen
Supporter Spotlight: Betsy and Jonathan Wood Juneau, Alaska It was their deep love of Juneau and a desire to
With the recent change in administration
protect their rainforest home. For them, this
protect Southeast that led Jonathan and Betsy
and political climate in the US, they wanted to
means protecting areas like the Taku River, a
Wood to support SEACC. As a young couple
do more than simply talk about the issues on
favorite place for Betsy, and the region around
starting their lives together it was important
social media and decided to "put their money
Haines, Alaska, a much-loved place for Jonathan.
to them to step up and support organizations
where their mouth is." When it comes time to
they believe in. This led them, in June of 2017,
write the checks, monthly donations "fit in
to join with other 'sustainers' in making regular
our budget better and are more sustainable.
donations to SEACC each month.
As a young couple, it seemed like that was
Jonathan first came to Southeast to work as a raft guide in Skagway ten years ago and soon met and fell in love with Betsy, a lifelong resident of Juneau. For them Southeast Alaska is like no other place on earth. Here they are able to enjoy
better than sitting down once a year and writing a check." Now, each month they make regular donations to a variety of organizations that
Join Betsy and Jonathan in becoming monthly donors to SEACC: by donating as little
cost of a cup of coffee each month, you will help make a big
nature as it should be, kayaking, hiking, and
When it came to the environment, Jonathan
difference in our
exploring the rich natural landscape right in their
and Betsy wanted to "think global and act local,"
supporting a regional nonprofit that works to
THE MANY WAYS TO DONATE Donate Today www.seacc.org/donate 10 Ravencall Spring 2018
Become a Monthly Sustainer: www.seacc.org/donate_monthly
Discover More Ways to Give: www.seacc.org/more_ways_to_give
Ravencall Events Calendar MAY
KETCHIKAN SUPPORTER POTLUCK | Ketchikan, AK Come and hang out with the SEACC staff who will be in town to meet with supporters. Be sure to join us for a potluck, check in on our events page for the exact date.
LITTLE NORWAY FESTIVAL | Petersburg, AK SEACC staff will be in town to share the salmon love during Southeast's celebration of Scandinavian culture.
SEACC COMMUNITY BONFIRE | Juneau, AK
SEACC's first monthly bonfire on the beach! We will provide the
fire, inspiration for action, and snacks, you bring your friends, family, food, and drinks to share.
SEACC COMMUNITY BONFIRE | Juneau, AK
friends, family, food, and drinks! Check our event listings page for more information.
CHILKAT CHALLENGE TRIATHLON | Haines, AK
Don't sweat the small stuff, come sweat with us as we paddle, bike, and run during the second annual triathlon!
4TH OF JULY PARADE | Juneau, AK
Join the parade as SEACC staff and volunteers float through the streets of Juneau to celebrate our clean water and healthy forests!
SEACC COMMUNITY BONFIRE |
SEACC's bonfire on the beach! We will provide the fire, and
SOUTHEAST ALASKA STATE FAIR | Haines, AK
small snacks so bring your friends, family, food, and drinks! Check our event listings page for more information.
26 - 29
Meet SEACC staff and buy a t-shirt or a hat from our booth!
KETCHIKAN BLUEBERRY ARTS FESTIVAL | Ketchikan, AK
The berries will be blue, but the mood sure won't be! Meet us in K-town for the best and tastiest arts festival in Southeast!
Eric Holle of Lynn Canal Conservation speaks at a film night at the American Bald Eagle Foundation, Haines, Alaska
SEACC COMMUNITY BONFIRE | Juneau, AK
SEACC's bonfire on the beach! We will provide the fire, and small snacks so bring your friends, family, food, and drinks! Check our event listings page for more information.
Cheers to SEACC at our Sitka Potluck
SEACC's bonfire on the beach! We will provide the fire, and small snacks so bring your
SITKA WHALEFEST | Sitka, AK We will have a whale of a time at Sitka's Whalefest where we will learn about and celebrate these ballerinas of the sea.
Check back on our website and Facebook page for additional events, including activist training in Juneau, that we will be hosting and attending! www.seacc.org/event_listings
THANK YOU TO OUR BUSINESS PARTNERS
Baranof Wilderness Lodge SITKA, AK
TP Alaska Designs JUNEAU, AK
Glacier Bay Sea Kayaks GUSTAVUS, AK
Bluewater Adventures VANCOUVER, BC
Sense of Place JUNEAU, AK
11 Ravencall Spring 2018
Non-Profit Org. US Postage PAID Juneau, AK 99801 Permit #107
224 Gold Street Juneau, AK 99801 (907) 586-6942 www.seacc.org
Want to receive the Ravencall in your mail? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find Ravencall online at issuu.com/seacc.
Ravencall LOVE SOUTHEAST ? # P R OT E CT W H ATYO U LOV E
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recurring donation of: q $5/mo q $10/mo q $25/mo q $50/mo q $100/mo q $________
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q $35 q $250
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Card #_______________________________________ Expiration date_______ CVC code_________________ Name________________________________________ Email________________________________________ Address______________________________________ City ____________________State_______ Zip_______ Phone(______) ______–______ (required for card payments)
q Keep my donation anonymous. q I want to learn more about leaving a legacy gift to SEACC – please send information.
Donate online at www.seacc.org or clip and send to: Southeast Alaska Conservation Council 224 Gold St, Juneau, AK 99801 Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.
Photo by Charles Sidlinger