River of Dreams
The mighty Unuk River, or Junak in Tlingit which means “To Dream,” is home to all five species of wild Pacific salmon and a rich Eulachon run. It was once known for having the largest Chinook (King) salmon run in Southeast Alaska. It is a significant producer for local communities and Tribes that rely on the river for traditional and cultural practices and food sovereignty.
As stressors in the ocean ecosystem increase, such as plastic pollution and acidification, river habitats like the Unuk | Junak become even more critical to the survival of salmon.
Photo by: Michele Cornelius
Reasons for Concern
Clean water and salmon fuel Southeast Alaska’s $2 billion/year fishing and tourism economy, sustain our communities, and are integral to our cultural practices. As one of the world’s largest open-pit mines, the proposed KSM could permanently transform the upper Unuk and Nass Rivers, filling entire tributaries of these salmon strongholds with billions of tons of acid-generating rock. The massive scale and untested mitigation measures of the KSM proposal would require water treatment for at least 250 years, if not forever, to protect the Unuk | Junak.
These are just some of the reasons why this proposed mine is a bad idea.