EPA Science Inventory

An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska (Final Report)

Notice:

EPA announces the availability of the final report, An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska, in a January 21, 2014 Federal Register Notice.

Citation:

U.S. EPA. An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska (Final Report). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA 910-R-14-001A-C, ES, 2014.

Description:

Cover of volume 1 of  the Bristol Bay, Alaska Final Assessment Report The Bristol Bay watershed in southwestern Alaska supports the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, is home to 25 federally recognized tribal governments, and contains large mineral resources. The potential for large-scale mining activities in the watershed has raised concerns about the impact of mining on the sustainability of Bristol Bay’s world-class commercial, recreational and subsistence fisheries and the future of Alaska Native tribes in the watershed who have maintained a salmon-based culture and subsistence-based way of life for at least 4,000 years. The purpose of this assessment is to provide a characterization of the biological and mineral resources of the Bristol Bay watershed, increase understanding of the potential impacts of large-scale mining on the region’s fish resources, and inform future government decisions related to protecting and maintaining the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the watershed. It will also serve as a technical resource for the public, tribes, and governments who must consider how best to address the challenges of mining and ecological protection in the Bristol Bay watershed.

Purpose/Objective:

The purpose of this assessment is to understand how future large-scale mining may affect water quality and the Bristol Bay salmon fisheries, which includes the largest wild sockeye salmon fishery in the world. Bristol Bay, Alaska, is home to a salmon fishery that is of significant economic and subsistence value to the people of Alaska and that fishery depends on clean water and a healthy watershed to remain sustainable. The Pebble Limited Partnership and other mining interests are actively exploring large-scale porphyry copper (i.e., gold, copper, molybdenum) mining in the headwaters of two drainage basins in Bristol Bay that provide key habitat for salmon. The analysis will be strengthened by scientific peer review, tribal consultation, federal and state agency participation, as well as public and industry input. EPA will accept and consider public input during development of the watershed assessment and will continue to work closely with tribal governments and state and federal agencies as we undertake this analysis.

URLs/Downloads:

FR Notice: Jan 21, 2014   Exit

Vol 1: Chapter 8: Water Collection, Treatment, and Discharge   (PDF,61 pp, 1358 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 12: Fish-Mediated Effects   (PDF,18 pp, 845 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 2, Appendix A: Fishery Resources of the Bristol Bay Region   (PDF,79 pp, 3669 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 3, Appendix H: Geologic and Environmental Characteristics of Porphyry Copper Deposits with Emphasis on Potential Future Development in the Bristol Bay Watershed, Alaska   (PDF,35 pp, 720 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 9: Tailings Dam Failure   (PDF,46 pp, 1118 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 2, Appendix D: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Characterization of the Indigenous Cultures of the Nushagak and Kvichak Watersheds, Alaska   (PDF,156 pp, 4963 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 2, Appendix B: Non-Salmon Freshwater Fishes of the Nushagak and Kvichak River Drainages   (PDF,75 pp, 482 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 10: Transportation Corridor   (PDF,46 pp, 2202 KB,  about PDF)

Executive Summary of the Final Report, An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska   (PDF,36 pp, 3793 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Executive Summary   (PDF,30 pp, 2626 KB,  about PDF)

Volume 1: An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska   (PDF,630 pp, 29213 KB,  about PDF)

Volume 2: An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska, Appendices: A -- D   (PDF,315 pp, 9341 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 7: Mine Footprint   (PDF,62 pp, 5035 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 6: Mine Scenarios   (PDF,45 pp, 4005 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 3: Region   (PDF,42 pp, 4984 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 3, Appendix J: Compensatory Mitigation and Large-Scale Hardrock Mining in the Bristol Bay Watershed   (PDF,57 pp, 788 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 14: Integrated Risk Characterization   (PDF,20 pp, 591 KB,  about PDF)

Volume 3: An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska, Appendices E -- J   (PDF,426 pp, 9419 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 4: Type of Development   (PDF,20 pp, 1262 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 11: Pipeline Failures   (PDF,32 pp, 882 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 3, Appendix G: Foreseeable Environmental Impact of Potential Road and Pipeline Development on Water Quality and Freshwater Fishery Resources of Bristol Bay, Alaska   (PDF,51 pp, 2780 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 15: References   (PDF,74 pp, 1050 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 2: Overview of Assessment   (PDF,15 pp, 2018 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 3, Appendix E: Bristol Bay Wild Salmon Ecosystem: Baseline Levels of Economic Activity and Values   (PDF,225 pp, 3910 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Front Matter   (PDF,31 pp, 350 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 3, Appendix F: Biological Characterization: Bristol Bay Marine Estuarine Processes, Fish and Marine Mammal Assemblages   (PDF,60 pp, 1109 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 1: Introduction   (PDF,8 pp, 520 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 2, Appendix C: Wildlife Resources of the Nushagak and Kvichak River Watersheds, Alaska   (PDF,1 pp, 25 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 1: Chapter 5: Endpoints   (PDF,43 pp, 3008 KB,  about PDF)

Vol 3, Appendix I: Conventional Water Quality Mitigation Practices for Mine Design, Construction, Operation, and Closure   (PDF,26 pp, 249 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PUBLISHED REPORT/REPORT)
Start Date: 05/18/2012
Completion Date: 05/18/2012
Record Last Revised: 07/20/2015
Record Created: 03/19/2013
Record Released: 03/19/2013
OMB Category: Highly Influential
Record ID: 253500

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

WASHINGTON DC

EXPOSURE ANALYSIS AND RISK CHARACTERIZATION GROUP