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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hydrologic and Aquatic Species Implications of the Proposed Pebble Mine, Bristol Bay, Alaska


Bristol Bay, Alaska is one of the last ecosystems left on earth that haqs gone unaltered by human impacts.  Bristol Bay watershed supports the largest wild sockeye salmon runs on the planet with nearly 42 million salmon migrating to the watersheds headwaters every year.  The proposed Pebble Mine, containing gold, copper, and molybdenum has threatened the health of this watershed.  This project asks what effects the proposed Pebble Mine will have on water quality and quantity, and more specifically, how the withdrawal of groundwater and surface water will alter the regions most pristine anadromous salmonid spawning grounds.  Though comprehensive studies have been done, the groundwater of this region remains a comples topic.  This research formulates unanswered questions related to groundwater that need to be answered before mining advances.  Due to the unknown properties of the region's groundwater and hydrologic regime, mining poses significant risk to water quality, quantity, and aquatic species of the Bristol Bay watershed.

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