Webinar: Beyond the Skagit: WA – B.C. Transboundary Rivers – 9/30

Webinar: Beyond the Skagit: WA – B.C. Transboundary Rivers – 9/30

Conservation Northwest / Sep 17, 2020 / Events, Healthy Watersheds, Mining

A panel discussion with important stakeholders about the threat of B.C. mining operations to transboundary watersheds, salmon & communities, co-hosted by Conservation Northwest and Salmon Beyond Borders.

There’s a long history of concern over downstream pollution from British Columbia mining activity to U.S. watersheds. From the proposed Imperial Metals mine in the Skagit River watershed and the Teck Resources smelter in the Columbia River watershed of Washington to the Tulsequah Chief mine in the Taku River watershed of Alaska, Canada’s lax mining regulations pose a real threat to downstream rivers, salmon, and communities.

A map showing mining sites in BC in watersheds that flow into U.S. states. Click for a larger version.

In recent years, calls from U.S. tribes, Canadian First Nations, and local, state, provincial and federal leaders, non-governmental stakeholders, and concerned citizens on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border have called for both countries to work together to prevent mine pollution of transboundary waters, and for Canada to update antiquated mining laws and regulations.

Join Conservation Northwest and Salmon Beyond Borders for a panel discussion with representatives from tribes and First Nations, lawmakers, government officials, the science community, and other important stakeholders on this issue.


The stunning peaks and forests of the Skagit Headwaters; no place for a massive new mine. Photo: Wilderness Committee

Panelists include: Rob Edward, former Chief, Lower Similkameen Indian Band; Scott Schuyler, Fisherman and Natural Resources Director, Upper Skagit Tribe; Ken Farquharson, former commissioner, Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission; Dennis McLerran, current USA Commissioner, Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission; Dan Schindler, professor of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington; Amelia Marchand, Program Director, Environmental Trust Program, Colville Confederated Tribes; and Dr. Dave Chambers, tailings dam expert and geophysicist. The panel discussion will be moderated by Mitch Friedman, Conservation Northwest Executive Director, and Jill Weitz, Salmon Beyond Borders Director.

Most recently, Imperial Metals proposed to mine in the Skagit Headwaters, home to Puget Sound’s healthiest remaining runs of wild salmon and steelhead, vital food for southern resident orca whales as well as cherished resources for Native American nations and other local communities. This company was responsible for the infamous B.C. Mount Polley mine disaster of 2014, spilling more than 6.6 billion gallons of toxic sludge into the Fraser River watershed—one of the biggest environmental disasters in Canadian history.

But the threats from Canadian mines reach beyond the Skagit, impacting transboundary rivers including the Flathead and Kootenai rivers in Montana, the Skagit and Similkameen rivers in Washington, and the Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers in Alaska, to name a few. It’s past time for stricter mining regulations and financial responsibilities of mines following ecological disasters that threaten our salmon and water.

There will be a chance for Q&A on the issue of Canadian mine pollution on transboundary watersheds, so bring your questions for the panelists to answer. To learn more in advance, please visit our Healthy Watersheds Campaign webpage.

This event will be in webinar format through Zoom. Please register at bit.ly/BeyondTheSkagit. Once registered, you’ll receive an email confirmation with a Zoom link to join the webinar. The recording will later be shared via YouTube.

Register for this webinar today! Learn more about our work for mining policy reform in British Columbia to reduce threats to downstream states, communities, fish and wildlife through our Healthy Watersheds Campaign.
Forests and watersheds have yet to recover after the 2014 Mount Polley Mine disaster. Stronger regulations and financial assurances are needed to protect against future mining spills in transboundary watersheds. Photo: J. Mack