Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Study: Transboundary Salmon Rivers Worth Millions to Southeast Alaska

A new economic study concludes that three transboundary watersheds that could be adversely impacted by mining in British Columbia have a value of just under $1 billion to the economy of Southeast Alaska.

The study for Salmon Beyond Borders was commissioned from the McDowell Group, a research and consulting firm in Juneau, Alaska.

The study measures the economic impact in Southeast Alaska of the Taku, Stikine and Unuk River watersheds, and also considers economic contributions from the Nass and Skeena rivers, which also have cross-border economic impact in commercial fisheries, tourism and recreation industries.

The study found that the combined watersheds account for $48 million in annually economic activity, including multiplier effects. This includes $34 million in direct spending, 400 jobs for the Southeast region, and nearly $20 million in labor income.

“Despite the limitations in the study, there is no question that the bounty from these rivers provides thousands of jobs that contribute to the well-being of communities on both sides of the border,” said Dale Kelley, executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association. “These watershed are economic powerhouses and worthy of international protections.”

Heather Hardcastle of Salmon Beyond Border said her group wanted to get the study out to local, state and federal officials, including the State Department, given that one mine is already in operation and two others are under construction. Hardcastle also said that the British Columbia government “is clearly not requiring bonds/sureties that will come anywhere close to covering the true liabilities associated with these mega projects.”

The complete study is online at

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