Alaskans are gearing up for the deep winter freeze that's quickly descending upon us. It's a time of hunkering down after a busy summer of fishing, gardening, building and an array of other outdoor activities that take place with frenzy during our short summer. For Trout Unlimited Alaska, summer is always an especially busy time, with Savor Bristol Bay events being held in Anchorage, Seattle and Portland. In addition we often have visits from Lower 48 media, TU donors and members, and others seeking to explore Bristol Bay, the Tongass National Forest and other beautiful corners of the state. In this issue we highlight an important recent development in the fight to protect Bristol Bay: a call on the EPA by tribes and fishermen to use the Clean Water Act to save America's last great salmon fishery. We hope you enjoy the issue. Also, please send us feedback and your ideas for what you would like to see in upcoming editions of Alaska Fish Tales.
Paula Dobbyn, Director of Communications
Trout Unlimited Alaska
The developers of the giant proposed Pebble copper and gold mine have publicly stated that they will apply for government permits to build the mega-mine in late 2011. Despite the enormous environmental risks this project would pose to Bristol Bay, officials at the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the lead state agency that regulates mining, have done nothing to protect the salmon-rich region.
DNR officials echo the Pebble Limited Partnership's (PLP) mantra that "there is no project" yet despite the fact that PLP has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on baseline studies, engineering design work and public relations paving the ground for a massive sulfide mine that will inevitably leach acid mine drainage and other toxins into the waters of Bristol Bay. PLP has also submitted preliminary design plans that envision a massive open-pit mine that would span 54 square miles of state land in the sensitive headwaters of the bay. »Read More 
A Culinary Adventure in Bristol Bay
Trout Unlimited Alaska brought a group of prominent chefs from California, Oregon and Kodiak, Alaska, to Bristol Bay this past June to experience the salmon fishery up close. The trip was also sponsored by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association and several seafood processors. Chefs Helene Kennan of Bon Appetit Management Co., Quentin Topping of Google, Lisa Schroeder of Mother's Bistro and Mama Mia Trattoria in Portland, and Joel Chenet of Mill Bay Coffee in Kodiak gathered in King Salmon to take part in an "all things salmon" culinary adventure and to meet some of the people who make Bristol Bay so unique. Read more  and view the slideshow. 
Training the Next Generation of Bristol Bay Fly Fishing Guides
A group of nine young people from the Bristol Bay region gathered in the Yupik Eskimo village of Ekwok in August to learn how to be fly fishing guides. The weeklong, all-expenses-paid academy was sponsored by Trout Unlimited Alaska, along with the Nushagak-Mulchatna Wood-Tikchik Land Trust, Alaska Conservation Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Bristol Bay Native Corp. and many other generous businesses, non-profits and individual donors. The academy is designed to train local youth in the art of fly fishing so they can tap into a thriving and lucrative industry in their own backyards. Read more  and view the slideshow. 
Big Support for Bristol Bay at the Alaska State Fair
In partnership with Trout Unlimited Alaska, chefs from Turkey Red - a popular Palmer, Alaska, restaurant, that specializes in local, sustainable foods - prepared hundreds of tasty Bristol Bay salmon morsels at the Alaska State Fair in August. The free salmon giveaway was the latest in a series of Savor Bristol Bay events sponsored by Trout Unlimited Alaska. Scores of fairgoers gobbled up the salmon bites as they learned about the serious environmental threats the salmon face from the proposed Pebble mine and how they can get involved in protecting the Bristol Bay.
TU staff, joined by many volunteers, including Bristol Bay commercial fisherman, Loren Kroon, handed out grilled sockeye with fennel, spinach salad and olive tapenade, a creation by Chef Jerry Duran of Turkey Red. The sockeye came from the Nushagak, a famed salmon river that flows downstream from the Pebble deposit. »Read More 
Paul Greenberg, Author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, Speaks Up About Bristol Bay
As of this writing, the Food and Drug Administration was seriously considering whether to approve genetically modified salmon and allow it to enter the U.S. marketplace. Trout Unlimited strongly objects to such a move for a variety of reasons, including the threats such salmon pose on the genetic integrity of wild salmon stocks and their overall health.
In an interview on the nationally broadcast public radio show, Living on Earth, author Paul Greenberg recently weighed in, arguing that instead of greenlighting the production of fake salmon - so-called "Frankenfish" - the U.S. government should be doing what it can to rebuild its diminishing stocks of wild salmon in the Lower 48 and protecting the abundant and healthy but threatened stocks in Bristol Bay. »Read More 
Back from the Bay
Some 40 million sockeye salmon returned to Bristol Bay this past summer, just as they did in 2009. Even in years when fewer salmon return, it's almost a guarantee that several million will make it home to their natal rivers to lay and fertilize their eggs, miraculously beginning a new cycle of life. The salmon are a gift that keeps on giving, as long as the right conditions exist for them to thrive - with fresh, clean water and undisturbed habitat topping the list. Fortunately in Bristol Bay, these prime conditions are intact and will continue to produce copious salmon runs, as long as the balance isn't tipped. If Pebble gets built, all that could change and much could be lost. An entire way of life squandered for short-term gains.
Several of Trout Unlimited Alaska's staff and contractors are commercial fishermen who work the waters of Bristol Bay every summer. One of them is Melanie Brown, a lifelong Alaskan who is a set net fisherman in the Naknek River district of Bristol Bay along with her children, her parents and her extended family. After this summer's fishing season, Melanie took a moment to reflect on what fishing means to her. »Read More 
Staff Profile: Nelli Atkinson Williams
Nelli Atkinson Williams serves as TU Alaska's Special Projects Coordinator, heading the organization's Bristol Bay Sportsmen Outreach program and designing many of our publications. She began working for TU in 2007 based in Lander, Wyoming as the State Coordinator and transferred to Alaska TU in April of 2009. In this interview, Nelli speaks about her life and work. »Read More 
(Photo credit: www.schnitzerphoto.com )