State proposes changes to 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan; public comment requested

The state of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has revised a portion of the 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan and is seeking public comment on those changes through April 4, 2013.

The Bristol Bay Area Plan is a legal document that determines how land in the Bristol Bay area can be used. Areas can be given up to three classifications for uses such as: Mineral, Wildlife Habitat, Public Recreation, Resource Management and Settlement.

The state is proposing revisions to the 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan based on the outcome of agreement between the state and plaintiffs who had litigated to change classifications designated in the plan. Litigation was dropped after the State agreed to review the plan and the plaintiffs’ arguments.

According to the DNR press release on the revisions, proposed changes to the plan include:

  • An additional 723,811 acres of land classified for wildlife habitat and public recreation
  • Added management of “wildlife habitat” and “sensitive fisheries” to another 1.3 million acres already classified for “resource management.” (Affected areas are largely located in the Mulchatna-Nushagak river drainages and in drainages emptying into Lake Iliamna.)

What do these changes mean for development of the proposed Pebble mine? It is unclear now how these changes could affect development of the proposed Pebble mine. According to the map provided by DNR, it appears as though the reclassified areas lie outside of identified major mineral deposits (see DNR map of proposed changes).


Read the DNR press release

Read the entire 2012 revision with maps (63 pp)

DNR web page with Bristol Bay Area Plan revision

Map of proposed changes

Submit comments