I know my choice. What is yours? Excerpt on Pebble mine controversy:
Pebble Mine, if built, will be one of the world’s largest open pit gold and copper mines, yielding 10.8 billion metric tons of ore of which 1% will be usable and 99% would be mine waste stored in what will be the world’s largest earthen dam reservoir – a reservoir that must exist and remain intact forever if the remarkable ecosystem of Alaska’s Bristol Bay is to survive. Any failure will be catastrophic to the surrounding environment. Events are underway to locate this mine on the headwaters of the Kvichak and the Nushagak Rivers which produce over half the salmon in the Bristol Bay Region. This region produces millions of wild salmon annually that represent the largest sustainable harvest of wild salmon on earth. It continues to support not only the indigenous people’s salmon culture that has existed for thousands of years, but is a significant protein source for the world, and the foundation of a food chain that supports not only more than 138 species of wildlife, from grizzly bears and river otters to shorebirds and bald eagles, but the surrounding flora as well. The pristine nature of this ecosystem is extraordinarily fragile and this is a massive gamble – a gamble which has inevitably failed in other salmon-rich drainages now either seriously degraded or eliminated altogether.
Organically fish smell but metals contaminating the environs that fish live in destroy their ability to smell. A Canadian study demonstrates that fish can recover their sense of smell with remediation of lakes and streams. Here is an excerpt from Scientific America explaining this restorative process: Greg Pyle, a professor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, said he suspects that impaired sense of smell “has meaningful and profound effects” on many fish species. It may be jeopardizing entire populations of fish, including some endangered species. “We’ve tested everything from leeches to water fleas to several species of fish,” Pyle said. “Every species and every metal we’ve observed has had effects at low, environmentally relevant concentrations.” Most contaminated lakes have a metallic mix, making it hard to tease out which pollutants are to blame. In the latest study, Pyle and his team of researchers took yellow perch that lived in Ontario lakes contaminated with mercury, nickel, copper, iron and manganese, and put them in a cleaner lake. Within 24 hours of basking in the clean water, the fish regained their sense of smell. This shows “fish from metal contaminated lakes have the ability to recover once the lake recovers,” the authors wrote in the paper published in last month’s Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety journal. The researchers used wild fish from two lakes with metal contamination (Ramsey and Hannah lakes) and from a cleaner one (Geneva Lake). Ramsey and Hannah, located in Sudbury, Ontario, are polluted from more than a century of mining, particularly with nickel. Hannah Lake is one of the worst-polluted lakes in the area, while Ramsey is similar to other North American lakes near industrial areas. Geneva Lake is far enough northwest to escape most contaminants. Just as the clean lake revived the sense of smell for the Ramsey and Hannah fish, Geneva Lake’s perch had decreased smell after just 24 hours of hanging out in the dirtier lakes. Their response times to substances that smelled like their food dropped 75 to 59 percent. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fish-cannot-smell-in-polluted-waters