Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust gains new ground

The Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust has acquired 44,000 acres in conservation easements over three areas of critical salmon habitat, blocking the access route to the proposed Pebble mine, the trust announced this week in its 2022 annual report and 2023 newsletter. 

The acquisition includes lands owned by Pedro Bay Village Corp. including Knutson Creek, Iliamna River and Pile River. The land trust said that 90% of shareholders in the corporation voted to approve selling the easement, provided that the deal closed by the end of 2022. The money was raised and the deal closed on Dec. 26, 2022. 

In addition to permanent protection for the habitat, the easements will block the access route to the site of the proposed Pebble Mine, trust officials said, adding an additional measure of assurance to keep plans for the mine from proceeding. 

During 2022, the land trust received general contributions of $63,452, with $26,000 in donations for the Bristol Bay Fly Fishing & Guide Academy and $61,095 for the Pedro Bay Rivers Project, the bulk of it through the partner Conservation Fund. Income from government grants and foundations for various projects came to $123,560, including $113,560 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the SW Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership.