Dear Congressman Ed Markey, My name is Bethany Sonsini Goodrich. Though, I do not live in the 7th District of MA, I feel a connection with your leadership due to the fact that several years ago you helped my grandmother receive veterans benefits in question for her deceased husband. I am 23 years old and have spent the greater portion of the last 6 years moving from place to place. I find a sense of permanence in Framingham, MA where I often visit, my mother grew up, my brother attended school, and my grandmother still resides. Also, with your position on the Natural Resources Committee your support on the below issue is increasingly valuable.
I graduated in 2011 Summa Cum Laude from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelors of Science in Biology, emphasis in Ecology, and minors in Fine Arts & Neuroscience. In October I will begin study at the University of Oxford where I will complete an Msc in Biodiversity, Conservation & Management.
I have, and will continue to study and represent the belief that environmental activism and sustainable development do not mean rerouting national priority from a devastated economy and are instead, a powerful tool for the holistic progression of our nation.
One week ago, I returned from Sitka, Alaska, where I was blessed to spend five months studying and documenting a powerful situation capable of setting important precedent on this issue in our country.
While working on a partnership between a conservation based non-profit and the United States Forest Service it became overwhelmingly apparent that salmon are the pillar of life in the Southeast. They not only drive the regional economy and sustain the largest remaining temperate rainforest in the world, they also feed rural Alaskans, perpetuate tradition and strengthen community. I spoke with many Alaskans- both native and rural whom, in the face of economic adversity and staggeringly high grocery prices, depend on their ability to harvest rich nutrition from their local land in a way completely foreign to most Americans. I toured restoration projects and watched contractors, researchers, and hydrologists put to work returning productivity to stream systems-providing jobs, restoring America's rainforest and boosting salmon production for a sustainable billion dollar Southeast Fishing industry. I tried my hand at fishing too, shared my first chinook salmon with friends, collected data on salmon, snorkeled with spawning sockeye through a glacial stream system and brought a cooler of fillets home to New England to share with family and friends.
I am writing to ask you to acknowledge the importance of salmon to the economies and communities of Southeast Alaska. Currently, the Forest Service allocates around $15 million dollars to logging in the Tongass National Forest, and only $1.5 million dollars to fish habitat restoration and fisheries management. Considering that logging provides around 200 jobs and that salmon support over 4,000, it seems that the Forest Service and the Natural Resources Committee have some important choices to make about priorities in the Tongass.
Please support the T77 proposal, which asks for LUD II designation for the top 77 fish-producing watersheds of the Tongass National Forest. Currently, these vital watersheds are vulnerable to timber logging and development of the sort that has devastated and even eliminated past salmon runs of the Pacific Northwest. With this designation, these watersheds would remain protected and intact.
The salmon runs of Southeast Alaska are more than just important for sustaining the wildlife and rainforest of America's last frontier. These fish and the ecosystems they sustain are a relic whose continued protection and conservation translates not only in retained health of one of America’s last wild places but also, in satiated and smiling citizens, perpetuated traditions and values, jobs, and continued prosperity of one of the last sustainable fisheries in the world.
Thank you for your support and for your consideration in supporting the T77 proposal,
Bethany Sonsini Goodrich