As part of an effort to increase direct funding to Indigenous communities doing conservation work, the foundation provided support to the United Tribes of Bristol Bay. Understanding this is a long-term effort, the foundation also convened other funders and helped foster collaborations to bring additional support to project partners. Building upon these partnerships, we led the development effort of a support letter to the new EPA administrator, signed by 18 funder partners, highlighting the need for permanent Bristol Bay protections.
The Bristol Bay Defense Fund and United Tribes of Bristol Bay used various advocacy strategies, including communications, potential litigation, community outreach and mobilization to elevate the issue. They successfully deterred new investors, made Pebble Mine a central issue in Alaska, and activated non-traditional conservationists to oppose the mine.
In 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers, in a surprising move, denied the mine permit. And, in 2021, the Biden administration re-opened the process to protect Bristol Bay under the Clean Water Act. While permanent protections are not yet in place, the coalition has made incredible progress to date and has opened a dialogue with the Alaskan public and decisionmakers on the future of this globally important region.
Partners: Bristol Bay Defense Fund, United Tribes of Bristol Bay