Raising the Green to Prevent the Orange

Raising the Green to Prevent the Orange

It looks like a picture of the planet Mars— bright-orange rivulets spread out over a barren, desert like landscape, but in reality it is a picture of a sulfide mine in Canada. Looking at that photo is all it takes to remind Emily Whittaker, with the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), of what she is working so hard to prevent.

For the past six years, the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, working cooperatively with Save the Wild UP and others has been focused on keeping the healthy, clean waters of the Yellow Dog and the Salmon Trout Rivers safe from a proposed nickel mine. To remove the nickel from the ore, the company would use a sulfide process that results in Acid Mine Drainage. Acid Mine Drainage can leach heavy metals into the food chain and could wreak havoc on this small trout fishery. Also of concern is the state’s approval of Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company’s application to use public land for company profit. Kennecott applied to fence off and utilize 120 acres to set up shop for extracting the minerals. Currently, the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve is one of four co-petitioners filing suit against the state for granting such a permit. In particular, the Surface Land Use Lease case has been re-opened and will commence in June 2009. Additionally, the company is awaiting a decision of a permit to inject treated wastewater back into the ground from the US EPA before mining can begin. The decision will be made in early summer.

Protecting this special area from mining has required significant financial resources. Through Freshwater Future’s coaching program, we worked with the Yellow Dog to streamline financial management systems, developed a fundraising plan, and are providing assistance with member outreach.

“Working with Freshwater Future has helped our group immensely. We are putting all of our financial and fundraising affairs in order, which will help us focus on the project work of protecting the Salmon Trout and Yellow Dog Rivers from the proposed sulfide mine,” shared Emily Whittaker.

There is much work to do to preserve the Salmon Trout River as a healthy river and prevent the sulfide mine from potentially damaging this special place. But with an organization that is financially sound, like the Yellow Dog, it will be in the best position to protect this magnificent area. For more information on how your group can receive help with financial management and fundraising contact us at info@freshwaterfuture.org.

For more information on the sulfide mine or the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, visit www.yellowdog.org.



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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.