Blog Assignment #4 – AIS-320

There is a Superfund site called Salt Chuck Mine, in the Organized Village of Kasaan, Alaska. The Salt Chuck Mine is located at the northern end of Kasaan Bay, on Prince of Wales Island in the Tongass National Forest. The Salt Chuck Mine is inactive now in 2014 however, during the Alaskan gold rush the mine was highly active in the mining of gold, copper and silver. The mining of these precious metals caused enough damage to still be negatively effecting the area years after the closing of the Salt Chuck Mine. The Salt Chuck Mine is located less those ten miles from the native village of Kasaan. The area is beautifully forested and is only accessible by trail, plane, or by boat.
The cause for concern comes from the harmful waste that is left behind from the early mining operation. These organic chemicals causing concern include coal, tar, hydrocarbons and petroleum fuel components remaining from mining operations. The wildlife in the area can be affected by these chemicals and the Native people who depend on the wildlife as sustenance are also affected because they are consuming the fish, clams, elk, and other wildlife that have been in contact with these harmful chemicals. The state of Alaska has issued health warnings concerning the consumption of any wildlife in the area of Salt Chuck Mine. The Environmental Protection Agency is planning on further investigating the harm that has been done.
The cleanup that has been done so far is highly progressive and much has been done to salvage what is left of the (natural) habitat for the native people and wildlife. “In 2011, the U.S. Forest Service built a short access road to the site, removed building debris, drums and tanks, excavated 5,400 cubic yards of petroleum-contaminated soil and 8,400 tons of contaminated material including metals-contaminated tailings.1” The Kasaan Bay has a Watershed Management Plan that was able to identify the Salt Chuck Mine as a top priority for cleanup because of the contamination that the mine had caused and the impact that it had on resources in the area which was a great relief for the tribal people from the Organized Village of Kasaan. Although the Salt Chuck Mine cause damage that is affecting the Kasaan tribe, the efforts being made to fix the problems that were caused is relieving. It would be wonderful to see more communities work together to fix environmental problems that have been cause by mining operations throughout the country.

2.1 Salt Chuck Mine History.