In April, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources announced that it would reconvene the Bristol Bay Advisory Group. Last week, DNR announced the 11 newly appointed members who will provide input on land use and management around the region.
One of the newly appointed members is Ernie Weiss, the Natural Resources Director for the Aleutians East Borough. He expects the group to discuss the proposed Pebble Mine and subsistence rights.
“The requirements are that you have to work together to come up with whatever land management issues there are and come up with solutions,” he said.
Another member, Brian Kraft, owns the Sportsman’s Lodge on the Kvichak River and Bristol Bay Lodge on Lake Aleknagik. He said the group's connections to communities around Bristol Bay will be key to constructive dialogue.
“It’s a massive region, and it’s got all kinds of different uses and needs," Kraft said. "It will be interesting to hear what’s important to people in the southern part of Bristol Bay compared to the western part, or compared to commercial fishing or sport fishing or subsistence all blended together. I look forward to robust discussion, and I think it’s a positive thing.”
Ex officio members, individuals on the board because of their positions in another office, include Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andrew Mack, Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust Tim Troll and House speaker Bryce Edgmon. Mack will be the group’s chairman.
The group was originally formed to provide input to the 1984 Bristol Bay Area Plan, which included land use designations and management guidelines, including management of mineral development in the area. However, no one was appointed to the group at the time. Now, the group could suggest changes to the Bristol Bay Area Plan, which DNR revised in 2005 and 2013.
DNR published the complete list of new members on August 3. All Bristol Bay Advisory Group meetings will be open to the public. No date or location is set for the first meeting, which is expected to take place this fall.
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