Maine Brook Trout Face Mining Threat

On the Pacific Coast, there is no bigger issue in the fishing community than the potential copper operation of Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. And a similar problem may have just hit the northernmost state on the East Coast as well.

A company that owns more than a million acres of Maine forest land has proposed a gold-and-copper mine right at the headwaters of the Fish River, according to Trout Unlimited. Water draining from the site would flow directly into prime native brook trout waters, some of the few remaining native trout waters in all of the northeast.

Last month, a bill was introduced that weakened restrictions to mining, paving the way for the subsidiary of JD Irving to propose the mine. Since then, TU’s Jeff Reardon has worked with the Maine Lobsterman’s Association and Maine Professional Guides Association to help restore some of those protections. They succeeded but not completely. “The amended version would allow increased groundwater pollution, relax standards for mine reclamation, and weaken the financial protections the public has against a bankrupt mining company,” according to Reardon.

The amended bill moved out of the Maine Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and is now up for vote as soon as this afternoon. TU is urging all Maine anglers and anyone who aspires to fish for Maine brookies to contact representatives urging them not to support this bill in order to protect this fragile habitat. We’ll let you know how the vote turns out.

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