Aerial photo of Talarik River in Alaska, which empties into Bristol Bay.
Talarik River Aerial view of the Talarik River and its tributaries which form the Bristol Bay watershed near the site of the proposed Pebble Mine in southwestern Alaska. The Alaska Pebble Mine project is a large and controversial copper, gold, and molybdenum open pit mine proposed for develop within the watersheds draining into Bristol Bay. The Bristol Bay watershed lies within the region of Southwest Alaska, near Lake Iliamna and Lake Clark. An impact study is being conducted and supported by environmental groups including the Nature Conservancy to focus attention on the value of this fragile ecosystem and vital salmon spawning habitat. © Bridget Besaw


Sen. Murkowski Moves to Block Pebble Mine

Language would help protect world-class salmon fishery

The following is a statement by Steve Cohn, state director of The Nature Conservancy’s Alaska chapter, after Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced she would develop language for future federal appropriations bills to protect the Bristol Bay region from the proposed Pebble Mine:

“Sen. Murkowski’s comments reinforce what the science and Bristol Bay communities have already said – Pebble is the wrong mine, in the wrong place. As the Army Corps of Engineers and analyses by The Nature Conservancy and several others have concluded, the mine would inflict irrevocable damage to the home of the planet’s most productive rivers for wild salmon. The loss of rivers, streams and open waters combined with the need to manage the mine’s toxic wastewaters in perpetuity would put Bristol Bay communities as well as the health of a globally important, environmentally sustainable fishing industry at risk.

“We commend Sen. Murkowski for proposing action to ensure the future of Bristol Bay aligns with the health and well-being of Alaska Natives who have cared for and relied upon this region for millennia. We agree on the need for a long-term strategy to protect Bristol Bay and look forward to continue working with the senator, local tribes, businesses and other stakeholders to chart a scientifically sound and equitable plan for the region.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.