Skip to main content

It's been a hard-fought battle of over twenty years. The warriors were getting weary. Still the voices of the people, speaking for the voiceless fish and wildlife of a most extraordinary watershed in Southeast Alaska near Haines, ultimately prevailed.

Just as we were preparing for another round, Alaska Power & Telephone, the utility company with the proposed boondoggle of a hydro-project in the Upper Chilkoot Watershed finally threw in their towel. The sweet message arrived today from FERC and from a rare (dedicated to both the resource and the commenting public) Alaska public official, Monte Miller, FERC's liasion with Alaska Department of Fish & Game for FERC hydro-project proposals in Alaska.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Here's the image that speaks a bit of what we were fighting for...a spawning sockeye in Bear Creek, a tributary to the portion of the Chilkoot River that is above Chilkoot Lake.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

There's more, so much more that this watershed means to us.  A mere twenty miles long, Chilkoot supports over a million dollars worth of commercial sockeye catch per year for local fishermen. It sustains the traditional lifestyles of a strong and vibrant Tlingit and rural Alaskan subsistence population.  It supports a spring eulachon run that in turn supports birds, sea lions, and people. It supports sockeye, pink, chum, and coho salmon. It supports mountain goats, moose, otters, wolves, coyotes, so many bears, mostly Alaska Coastal brown bears, mink, bald eagles, osprey, ducks, gulls, song birds, dippers, people, tourism, and much, much more.

The project would have required a large dam and road access, power lines, tons of fill hauled into the salmon spawning grounds above Chilkoot Lake that is part of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.

Why was industry able to keep this fight going for such a risky project for so long in the presence of such a valuable resource? Politicians were willing to keep throwing money at it. Bureaucrats doing the same old rubber stamping of anything that smells of growth and development. People who take the most valuable things in life for granted and don't imagine that they can actually be jeopardized by a hydro-project wrongly-sized and wrongly-placed.

Why did the fish win this one? A collection of good folks willing to speak out for the resources they value, over, and over, and over, and over again, creating an ever widening circle of voices and involvement for that which matters.

To keep up with the Chilkoot Watershed of Haines, Alaska, feel free to join "Friends of Chilkoot" on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/...

Or check in with the Chilkoot Watershed Coaltion website at: http://akmk.com/...

In the meantime, celebrate with us however you wish. A black cloud over one of earth's most special places has, for now, been lifted.

Originally posted to akmk on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site