Protecting the Bristol Bay Watershed from Pebble Mine

Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

The Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska is an area rich with salmon, wildlife and salmon-based Alaska Native cultures and is home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world.

A large-scale gold and copper mine, called the Pebble Mine, has been proposed for the area. Between 24 and 94 miles of streams would be lost due to the mine footprint alone, spills into the remaining streams are likely, and the resulting toxic mine waste will pose a threat to the area in perpetuity.

In January 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final Bristol Bay Assessment describing potential impacts to salmon and ecological resources from proposed large-scale copper and gold mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The report, titled An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska, details the grave risks facing Bristol Bay’s natural resources, Native peoples, commercial fishing jobs and industry, and tremendous recreational opportunities if a mine is allowed to proceed.

Sockeye salmon in Alaska's Bristol Bay.
The Bristol Bay watershed is home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world. (Photo provided by Ben Knight / Trout Unlimited)

Case Updates

Sockeye salmon race through the Alagnak River in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed.
May 20, 2024 Update: Victory

Earthjustice Returns to Court to Protect Huge Win Against Proposed Pebble Mine

The proposed mine would destroy nearly 100 miles of fish stream habitat and 2,100 acres of wetlands, lakes, and ponds.

May 17, 2024 document

Pebble Mine: Proposed Answer of Applicant Intervenor-Defendants

A coalition of 15 conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Trustees for Alaska filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision that protects Bristol Bay from harmful mines, like the proposed Pebble Mine, under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.

Sockeye salmon race through the Alagnak River in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed.
May 17, 2024 feature

Alaska’s Bristol Bay & The Pebble Mine

An open-pit mine threatened one of the last places on Earth where wild salmon still thrive. We will protect Bristol Bay, one of our world's surviving great ecosystems.