EPA postings provide insight on assessment contents

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has posted two recent documents that give further insight into what will be included in its draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, due to be released in late April 2012:

  • The February 2012 Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Update includes a general description of what the report will contain.
  • The January 2012 Intergovernmental Technical Team Meeting (IGTT) presentation further details contents of the assessment, including these items of interest:
    • An “Initial Thoughts” section that links large-scale development with negative impact in the watershed. For example: “Large-scale development will destroy streams, and therefore salmon habitat, covered by the footprint of mining operations.” The section also acknowledges: “Should accidental or catastrophic events occur they are likely to have broader impacts.”
    • An “Ecological Risk Assessment Mining Scenario” that graphically shows the overall mining claims and water permits in the Nushagak and Kvichak Watersheds. The presentation also notes that EPA’s assessment team will use detail from the 2011 Northern Dynasty Minerals Preliminary Assessment to create its generic mining scenario.
    • Updates to conceptual diagrams that explore potential environmental impacts of mining in Bristol Bay.

The EPA is currently accepting nominations from the public for qualified individuals to serve on a Peer Review panel that would review the watershed assessment. More information.

More information about the EPA Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment