Revised "Proposed Determination" to Protect Bristol Bay Watershed
- Read EPA's news release (May 25, 2022)
The Bristol Bay watershed in southwestern Alaska supports the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, is home to 25 federally recognized tribal governments, and contains large mineral resources. Learn more about Bristol Bay.
Revised 404(c) Proposed Determination
On May 26, 2022, EPA Region 10 published a Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Proposed Determination to prohibit and restrict the use of certain waters in the Bristol Bay watershed (South Fork Koktuli River, North Fork Koktuli River, and Upper Talarik Creek watersheds) as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble Deposit.
If finalized, EPA’s Section 404(c) determination would help protect the Bristol Bay watershed’s rivers, streams, and wetlands that support the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and a subsistence-based way of life that has sustained Alaska Native communities for millennia.
Comment period ended September 6
On June 16-17, EPA Region 10 held public hearings in Dillingham and Newhalen, in addition to a virtual hearing on June 16, to obtain public testimony and comment on the Proposed Determination.
On June 24, EPA Region 10 signed a Federal Register notice extending the deadline for public comment from July 5 through September 6, 2022, to provide sufficient time for all parties to meaningfully comment on the Proposed Determination and supporting documents.
EPA Region 10 will fully consider all public comments received as it decides whether to forward to EPA Headquarters a Recommended Determination as provided for in EPA’s regulations regarding the use of certain waters in the Bristol Bay watershed as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble deposit.
If EPA Region 10 prepares a Recommended Determination and forwards it to EPA Headquarters, EPA Headquarters will review the recommended determination, public comments received on the Proposed Determination, and other available, relevant information, and shall make a Final Determination affirming, modifying, or rescinding Region 10’s Recommended Determination.
, EPA Region 10 signed a Federal Register notice extending the time period to either withdraw the Proposed Determination or prepare a Recommended Determination until December 2, to help ensure full consideration of the extensive administrative record including all public comments.
For previous announcements, see Bristol Bay 404(c) timeline.