Thursday, March 22, 2012

UIU To Screen "Red Gold", Documentary on Alaska Salmon Threatened by Proposed Mine

FAYETTE, IA (March 17, 2012)--Upper Iowa University will offer a screening of the award-winning documentary, "Red Gold," which takes viewers to Bristol Bay, Alaska, the location of the most productive Sockeye salmon rivers in the world. The area is also the location for a proposed open pit gold and copper mine, Pebble Mine, which would be the largest in the world.

The one-hour film shares the views and lives of commercial fishermen, Alaskan natives, and sports fishing guides who rely on the Sockeye salmon to make a living and who are trying to protect the watershed. Mineral exploration of the area began in 1986, with the first drilling in 1988. The mining proposal has triggered significant controversy that continues, with the EPA beginning its scientific assessment in February 2011 to look at the possible impact of large-scale mining activities. "Red Gold", which received the "Director's Choice award for Best Documentary" at the 2008 Telluride Mountain Film Festival, was produced by Felt Soul Media and Trout Unlimited Alaska. "This has been the most important thing I've ever done in my life," said co-director Ben Knight when accepting the award.

UIU will screen the documentary in a program from 3:30 to 5:30 PM on Thursday, March 29, in the Liberal Arts Auditorium. Admission is free. The screening includes a question-and-answer session with three men from Bristol Bay, who have more than 100 years combined experience working in the Bristol Bay area. Jeff Skrade, a native of Prairie du Chien, Wis., migrated to Alaska in 1970 where he worked as a full-time fishery biologist for the state of Alaska and an area management biologist in Bristol Bay. Since retirement, he works seasonally as the fleet manager for Peter Pan Seafoods in Dillingham, Alaska. Curtis Olson is a native of Broadus, Mont., and is a commercial fisherman, rancher and auctioneer with 30 years of experience in Bristol Bay. His children and grandchildren are all fishermen in the Bay area. Dave Egdorf resides in Hardin, Mont., and is a fishing guide in Alaska during the summers. He has worked in Southwest Alaska for more than 30 years.

"This film profiles an important environmental issue," said Dr. Katherine McCarville, associate professor of geosciences, who organized the screening at UIU. "The film features beautiful photography and really digs into the issues surrounding the potential development of the Pebble Mine."

McCarville noted that the UIU event will conclude with an auction of Alaska salmon.

For more information, contact Dr. McCarville at 563-425-5233 (mccarvillek@uiu.edu)

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