If we look at salmon populations around the world (e.g., the West Coast, New England, Europe), it’s clear that wild salmon cannot survive (let alone sustain a viable commercial fishery) without healthy habitat.
That’s why we at Taku River Reds™ are committed to being active stewards and defending the basic ingredients our wild salmon need to thrive: clean and cold water, free-flowing rivers, lakes and streams. We are involved locally, nationally, and internationally to protect Alaska’s salmon watersheds so that future generations can enjoy this annual gift that feeds our bodies and souls.
Despite being home to one of the largest remaining salmon strongholds in the world, the Taku River and Tongass National Forest are currently under threat from increasing pressure to extract other resources such as minerals and timber. We hope that you will learn more about these threats and join us in our efforts to defend our wild salmon:
Alaska's Transboundary Rivers
In Northwest British Columbia, a modern-day gold rush is underway that could threaten Southeast Alaska’s salmon, rivers, fishing and tourism jobs, and unique way of life. Spurred by weakened environmental and fishery regulations and the construction of a massive new power line, at least ten industrial mines are in some stage of advanced exploration, environmental review, permitting or operation in this region that is quickly becoming one of the largest mining districts in the world.
Most of these Canadian mineral projects in Northwest B.C. are located in transboundary watersheds of key salmon rivers—the Taku, Stikine and Unuk—that originate in B.C. and flow into Southeast Alaska. The Taku, Stikine and Unuk watersheds span almost 30,000 square miles, or an area roughly the size of Maine, and are the cultural and economic lifeblood of Southeast Alaska. The existing and proposed mines in these watersheds are likely to produce acid mine drainage and toxic heavy metals that could harm Southeast Alaska’s lucrative fishing and tourism industries, the traditional practices of Alaska Native tribes, and the way of life of Southeast Alaskans. These large-scale projects offer few, if any, economic benefits to the region.
Alaska’s congressional delegation, and several dozen Alaska municipal governments, tribes, commercial and sport fishing organizations, NGOs and businesses have so far called on the U.S. Department of State for action under the Boundary Waters Treaty to protect the water and ecosystems—and the cultures, fisheries and way of life dependent on them—in the Taku, Stikine and Unuk watersheds.
To learn more, visit Salmon Beyond Borders.
The Tongass 77
While salmon populations in the Tongass National Forest are currently healthy and abundant, they face growing threats that could undermine their future productivity. These threats include potential large-scale development and resource extraction, as well as proposed hydroelectric dams and mines. Unfortunately, some of the Tongass' most productive and pristine salmon and trout watersheds remain vulnerable to these and other growing threats, casting uncertainty over the future sustainability of Southeast Alaska's fisheries.
Recently, scientists and local stakeholders identified over 70 watersheds in the Tongass that are scientifically deemed important to local wild salmon and trout populations. These watersheds - known as the Tongass 77 - have become the focal point of a collaborative campaign to secure permanent protection for these watersheds. Taku River Reds is working closely with these partners to help urge members of Congress to introduce legislation that would protect these salmon strongholds for future generations. We are also working to encourage the Forest Service to adopt a "fish first" policy, making salmon and trout populations a priority when making management decisions in the Tongass - America's Salmon Forest.
Learn more about the Tongass 77 and America's Salmon Forest.