The watershed produces nearly half the world’s wild sockeye salmon, a fish that is important for two groups of Alaska Natives in the region, Yup’ik Eskimos and the Dena’ina.
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The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday moved against a massive mine project in Alaska which supporters say could contain billions of dollars in gold and copper, delivering a win for environmentalists who claimed the mine could endanger sockeye salmon populations.

The decision on Pebble Mine was highly anticipated, and comes after an EPA report in January found large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed posed significant risk to salmon and could adversely affect Alaska Natives in the region, whose culture is built around salmon.