Two years ago this fall, I testified at a Wrangell Borough Assembly meeting in support of yet another resolution calling on the U.S. federal government to be firm with British Columbia and Canada in protecting the Stikine River, as well as the Taku and Unuk rivers.
These transboundary rivers, the lifeblood of Southeast Alaska, are threatened by the more than 30 B.C. gold mines in some phase of development just over the border. Over a dozen of them are located within the Stikine-Iskut watershed.
As I looked around the Assembly chambers, I realized that most people in Wrangell, whether they know it or not, are tied to the bounty of the Stikine. Whether they’re commercial fishermen or part of the visitor industry, whether they arrived last year, or whether their ancestors arrived thousands of years ago — the richness and bounty of the Stikine is intricately tied to the culture and economic health of our region, and to each of us.
The Stikine River is an ecological and economic powerhouse, providing vital habitat for all five species of wild Pacific salmon and pumping out nutrients and minerals that fuel the wetland and marine ecosystems downstream, supporting everything from forage fish to migratory birds and marine mammals across the region.