Fort Knox Gold Mine and ADF&G Honored
Fort Knox gold mine near Fairbanks, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and three seafood processors in Unalaska have been selected to receive the Second Annual Tileston Award, named after long- time Alaskan conservationist Peg Tileston and her long-time husband and former state mining director Jules Tileston. The award celebrates resource developers whose success is measured both in their positive effect on our jobs and economy as well as our environment. Developers who, as Peg says, do it right.
When Fort Knox and ADF&G restored fish habitat and Arctic grayling to Fish Creek and when Unalaska's seafood processors made oil out of fish waste to generate heat and electricity, they captured the spirit of the Resource Development Council (RDC) and Alaska Conservation Alliance (ACA) annual Tileston Award, "if it is in Alaska, it must be done right!"
The Alaska Conservation Alliance and the Resource Development Council (RDC) both agree that economic development and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive goals. The Tileston Award is not viewed as a 'green' award for the resource development industry or as 'economic' recognition for a conservation organization. "It is a uniquely Alaskan award established to honor organizations, individuals, and/or businesses that create solutions and innovations advancing the goals of economic development and environmental protection," said ACA Executive Director Caitlin Higgins.
The city of Unalaska and RDC member Frank Kelty nominated Alyeska Seafoods, Westward Seafoods, and Unisea Inc. for their processing and use of high quality fish oil in their plant operation; used as a 50 percent blend in the city's diesel generators and steam boilers and export for other uses. Kelty said he wanted to nominate the seafood processors to bring awareness to their efforts.
"It was a pleasure for us to nominate them," Kelty said, "few people know that they have been using fish oil out here for years and years."
Fort Knox and ADF&G are being awarded for taking it upon themselves to repair damage done to fish habitat from past activities of other mining operations in Fish Creek near Fairbanks. Their efforts established a viable Arctic Grayling population in Fish Creek and reversed Fish Creek's listing as an Impaired Water Body. Though the mine has brought and estimated $250 million economic boost to Fairbanks and Alaska, the mine's restoration work can be considered priceless.
"It is impossible to place a dollar value on the results of [the] reclamation efforts, but the intrinsic value of clean water and a productive fishery cannot be overstated. In addition to the current benefits realized downstream, the economic benefits will carry their strengthening influence far into the future," said Lorna Shaw, Community outreach director for Fort Knox.
The first Tileston Award went to the Alaska Board of Forestry in 2008 was recognized at a reception in its honor as part of the Alaska Municipal League's conference on climate change.
An award ceremony is scheduled for this year's Tileston Award recipients Thursday, October 1 at the Hilton's Top of the World Lounge, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information please contact Alaska Conservation Alliance at 258-6171 or the Resource Development Council at 276-0700.
The Resource Development Council is a statewide, non-profit, membership-funded organization made up of businesses and individuals from all resource sectors, as well as Native corporations, support sectors, labor unions, and local governments. Through the Council these interests work together to promote and support responsible development of Alaska's resources.
The Alaska Conservation Alliance is the statewide umbrella group for approximately 40 member organizations with a combined membership of over 38,000 Alaskans. The Alliance unites Alaska's conservation community to speak with one strong voice in the State Capitol.