|  July 30, 2014  |  
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Native Corporation to Participate, Comment at EPA's Peer Review Meetings

Three members of Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s Board of Directors, including Chairman of the Board Joseph Chythlook, are among members of the public pre-registered to attend and make comment at scientific meetings being held by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Anchorage this week. The purpose of the meetings is to review the scientific and technical merit of the agency’s Draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.

Chythlook, as well as Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) board members H. Robin Samuelsen Jr., and Russell Nelson—all lifelong Bristol Bay residents and experts in fishing, subsistence and traditional knowledge—will provide comments during the Tuesday afternoon public comment session.

The session is scheduled as part of EPA’s watershed assessment peer review panel meetings, occurring at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage Tuesday through Thursday. EPA’s peer review panel comprises twelve experts from a variety of science backgrounds. The expert panel is charged with providing an in-depth review of the assumptions, analyses, and conclusions contained in the draft document. Tuesday is the only day the proceedings will permit public comment; on that day, the panel will listen to scientific and technical comments only from members of the public who pre-registered to talk. On Wednesday and Thursday, the panel will discuss the watershed assessment internally, without comment from the public. Peer reviewers will subsequently complete individual written reviews of the draft assessment; these will be provided to the EPA along with an overall summary of the peer review meetings. The EPA will consider the peer review input in preparing its final watershed assessment.

BBNC President and CEO Jason Metrokin summarized the corporation’s review of the draft watershed assessment and the peer review process:

“The findings in the draft assessment mirror what the people of the Bristol Bay region have known for millennia—that Bristol Bay salmon are a world-class resource deserving of protection. We look forward to a rigorous and thoughtful peer review process, to help ensure that the basis of any future protections has a solid foundation in science, including in traditional knowledge. The EPA has already received overwhelmingly supportive public comment about the watershed assessment during public meetings held in June throughout the Bristol Bay region, Anchorage and Seattle. We have every expectation the peer review process will make the science stronger.”

About BBNC: BBNC is one of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. The corporation has over 9,000 Eskimo, Aleut, and Indian shareholders with ancestral ties to the Bristol Bay region. BBNC supports responsible resource development, defined as development that is fiscally, environmentally and socially sustainable, serving the long-term interests of our people, our region, and our businesses. More information can be found at www.bbnc.net.

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