Hello Mr. Zenanko,
As noted in my prior email, I'm working on a project to engage anglers and hunters in the campaign to see that the Rainy River Drainage Basin is not negatively impacted by the risks posed by proposed mining projects in the headwaters area.
The American Sportfishing Association as well as brand leaders like Rapala and St. Croix Rods have joined in support of this effort.
It would be extremely powerful to have a list of hall of fame caliber anglers show support for keeping the Rainy watershed protected. I am soliciting support from the ranks of Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame members and Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame members.
Please take a look at the simple statement below, and let me know if you would lend your name to it. We're off to a good start, as Randy and Todd Amenrud, and Ted Takasaki are the first signers. Please let me know if you'd be willing to lend your name, and if you know of others you feel would sign on. I have a solid list of prospects, but don't have contact details for a lot of them.
The Rainy River Drainage Basin is home to some of the finest freshwater fishing in all of North America. As anglers, we are extremely concerned about proposals to develop sulfide-ore copper mines in the headwaters that feed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park, and Rainy Lake watershed. The type of mining proposed has not been proven to be done elsewhere without negative impacts to water resources. In a region as valuable as the Rainy Lake watershed, we feel that the risks are simply too great, and that its unique clean water and fishery resources must be protected.
Thanks very much, and please let me know if you have any questions!
Sporting Outreach Coordinator
Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters
The Minnesota Man with a Brain Responds
Thanks for your email. I too, love to fish the waters in the area you mention. And, I would not support any mining project that posed a threat to those waters. I do know that the MDNR has very strict rules concerning the way mining is done in this state. If, during the permitting process, it becomes clear that the design of the mining plan is not adequately protective of the environment, I would be one of the first to register my opposition.
With environmental protection as #1, I also recognize that our society requires these metals, and they do have to come from somewhere. In my view, with Minnesota having some of the toughest mining rules in the world, I see the environmental benefit in having those metals come from the most regulated places on earth, even if it is "in my backyard". As you know, much of copper we use daily comes from Peru, Chili, and Indonesia, where environmental rules are almost non-existent. I can't do much about that, except when a well-designed mine and properly permitted and operated mine comes along in my backyard, I think its the environmental-minded thing to do to support it.
I've seen some of the worst mines from century's past in my fishing travels, and if that's how they were planning on doing it, I'd be totally opposed. But I've also seen that copper mine over there by Ladysmith, Wisconsin - right next to the river, where they mined all that copper in the 90's for years and now today you'd never know a mine was ever there. Lots of us were concerned when that one went it, but sure enough, it worked out, and all the terrible predictions of how it would ruin the river were not borne out. If you saw it, you would be as shocked as I was to drive right up to the mine to ever know it was there. It wasn't noisy or dusty or anything - just like a big gravel pit is all.
So sign me up for one who feels strongly that the permitting process should be fair and thorough, and if they can engineer it to meet the standards, then I would support it. If not, then I would not support it. I plan to enjoy fishing the boundary water for the rest of my life
MN Resident and Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Angler