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ICYMI: Pebble Newsletter - July/August 2013



July/August 2013



Rural Schools, Outmigration and Perceptions



Message from the President



Elders Forum



Employee Spotlight: Valerie Engebretsen


Environment Q & A

What are wetlands, and why are they important?

Answer: Generally, wetlands are lands where the soil is often saturated with water, affecting the types of plant and animal communities living in that area. For example, wetlands include marshes, swamps, fens, bogs, and, in Alaska, permafrost.

Wetlands are important because they support a variety of ecological functions and human values. For example, wetlands can provide fish and wildlife habitat, which in turn supports subsistence resources; wetlands can “filter” contaminants to maintain clean water, or in developed areas, improve degraded water; they can store flood water to moderate flood related damage; and wetlands can provide sites for educational and recreational opportunities. Wetlands can vary in their importance, number of functions and services, and significance.

Pebble scientists have documented and mapped the location of wetlands across a large geographic area that extends well beyond the project’s footprint. Pebble scientists are also studying wetland functions through a process called a Functional Assessment. Pebble will use this information during the regulatory process to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands to the maximum extent practicable, and then offset any remaining unavoidable impacts through compensatory mitigation.


Mining Fact


All Alaska Native corporations benefit from the mining industry. For example, of the $124.7 million in net proceeds from Red Dog Operations to NANA Regional Corporation in 2012, $76.4 million were distributed to other Alaska Native regional and village corporations through 7(i) and 7(j) payments.


Safety Tip


Fire safety should always be a main concern in the workplace. Here are some helpful tips promoting fire safety: keep your work area free of waste paper and trash that can easily catch fire; check your electrical cords – if a cord is damaged in any way, replace it; keep heat-producing equipment away from anything that might burn; and always know your fire safety plan.


Green Star Tip


Did you know one of the most serious threats to our oceans is plastic pollution? Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface. Please consider recycling or reusing your plastics.


Rural Schools, Outmigration and Perceptions


Although outmigration is a statewide issue, Southwest Alaska continues to experience some of the highest population declines. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, throughout a 10-year period, the Lake and Peninsula Borough experienced a 17 percent drop in Alaska Native population.

Similarly, the Bristol Bay Borough experienced a 23 percent drop in Alaska Native population. Research shows issues such as high living costs, lack of economic opportunities, limited infrastructure and school closures all contribute to outmigration.

Read the full article...


Message from the President


Like many people throughout Alaska, AlexAnna Salmon is passionate about sustaining her community – Igiugig, Alaska. I’ve asked AlexAnna to share what life looks like for her in rural Alaska, a perspective worth knowing.

A Slice of Rural Alaska Life
by AlexAnna Salmon

I chose to live without routine, and spontaneously by the seasons. This is why I live in the isolated village of Igiugig, population 70, which sits on the banks of the Kvichak River and Iliamna Lake. On a daily basis, I am able to work one full, and several parttime jobs, while raising three beautiful daughters.

Read the full article...


Elders Forum


The Elder’s Forum began in 2009 with approximately 60 attendees from the Bristol Bay region. The initial purpose of the event: to address questions surrounding the Pebble Project. Today, the Elder’s Forum serves as an opportunity for those who want to learn more about the Pebble Project, while reconnecting with family and friends. This year at the 5th Annual Elder’s Forum, Pebble hosted more than 200 attendees from 26 communities throughout the Bristol Bay region.


Employee Spotlight: Valerie Engebretsen


A life-long Alaskan and a resident of Nondalton, Alaska.

What is your position with Pebble?
I’m a Community Associate for the Pebble Partnership, serving as a liaison for information between the Partnership and the communities in which I grew up.

When did you start working for Pebble?
My career with Pebble began in February 2012.

Tell us about your Pebble work history.
Before I applied for a position as a community associate I was pretty uninformed about the project. I thought what better way to get more informed then to work directly for Pebble. I applied for the position and here I’m today as a Community Associate. Learning as I go, I travel and get a chance to hear from people all over my region.

Read the full article...


Berry Picking
By Anna Paine, Pebble Administrative Assistant

Taught by Elders from her region, Anna Paine has picked berries for more than 20 years, a tradition she believes is a great family-bonding activity.

To start, stand in one place overlooking the tundra and identify the best place to begin. You will need a backpack, buckets, berry picker, Ziploc bags, snacks, mosquito repellant, water, scarf and boots.

Typically, blackberries are the first berries to show. They are usually found clustered together in dry and flat portions of the tundra. Blueberries on the other hand are found in higher areas of the tundra with long stems and tiny leaves surrounding the berry patch. Salmonberries are found in the damp part of the tundra, mostly around swamps. They are easily seen because of their bright colors. Each salmonberry is covered with a stem and leaf attached to the salmon berry. Cranberries are surrounded by bright green leaves at the end of the summer. Cranberries also have a bright fall-colored leaf hanging close to the berry, almost purple color.

When berry picking, always remember to be aware of your surroundings, consistently looking out for wildlife and bad weather. Berry picking is fun activity that you can do with both your friends and family.


MYTH: Pebble will pollute the waters around it.

FACT: All water from the mine area will be controlled, collected and released back into the environment only when it meets strict water quality standards.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has some of the most stringent water quality standards in the nation. This includes an anti-degradation policy, which requires extraordinary protection of waters with high natural quality. The quality of these waters must be maintained and protected and any discharges to the waters must be treated using best available methods and to the highest statutory and regulatory requirements. The standards also protect Alaska’s waters so that they can serve as habitat for fish and other aquatic life, as sources of drinking water, and for recreation and other purposes.

Pebble will work closely with the state and federal agencies to ensure that water released from the mine area not only meets water quality standards, but has everything needed to continue to provide vital fish habitat.


The Pebble Partnership
3201 C Street, Suite 604
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

Telephone: 907.339.2600
Toll-Free: 1.877.450.2600



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