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5 Things to Know About Bristol Bay, Courtesy of the White House

The White House's list of 5 things to know about Bristol Bay, home to largest wild salmon run, now off limits to new drilling leases.
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On December 16, President Barack Obama declared the Bristol Bay region of Alaska off limits to new oil and gas drilling leases. While this does not address mining, or Pebble Ltd. Partnership’s much-contested proposal to build a massive open-pit copper and gold mine in the vicinity of the world’s largest salmon run, it serves as an official acknowledgment of the preciousness and fragility of this global resource.

RELATED: Obama Declares Bristol Bay Off Limits to New Oil and Gas Drilling Leases

The White House put a fine point on it by accompanying Obama’s announcement with this handy list of things to know about the Bristol Bay watershed reason. Below is the White House’s list of “five things you need to know about Bristol Bay,” according to its statement.

BRISTOL BAY PROVIDES 40 PERCENT OF AMERICA'S WILD-CAUGHT SEAFOOD

Bristol Bay is one of the world's most valuable fisheries, providing 40 percent of America's seafood and supporting up to $2 billion in commercial fishing every year.

Photo: Courtesy Choctaw Nation

Left to right: Kelly Danner, KOB Board President; Vonna Shults, Jon Hotubbee, and Tracy Horst, Director of Environmental Sustainability Going Green Team

BRISTOL BAY HOSTS ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST WILD SALMON RUNS

While remote, this area is also an economic engine for tourism in Alaska. Bristol Bay drives $100 million in recreational fishing and tourism activity every year.

Photo: Courtesy Choctaw Nation

Left to right: Kelly Danner, KOB Board President; Vonna Shults, Jon Hotubbee, and Tracy Horst, Director of Environmental Sustainability Going Green Team

BRISTOL BAY IS HOME TO MULTIPLE THREATENED SPECIES

Bristol Bay provides important habitat for many species, including the threatened Steller's eider, sea otters, seals, walruses, Beluga and Killer whales, and the endangered North Pacific Right Whale.

Photo: Courtesy Choctaw Nation

Left to right: Kelly Danner, KOB Board President; Vonna Shults, Jon Hotubbee, and Tracy Horst, Director of Environmental Sustainability Going Green Team

THE PRESIDENT'S ACTION PROTECTS MILLIONS OF ACRES FROM DRILLING

The North Aleutian Basin Planning Area that includes Bristol Bay consists of about 32.5 million acres. The previous Administration set in motion a new lease sale for 2011 that would have opened approximately 5.6 million acres -- about one-fifth of the planning area -- for drilling. In 2010, President Obama temporarily withdrew the Bristol Bay area from oil and gas development, and today's action extends that protection indefinitely.

Photo: Courtesy Choctaw Nation

Left to right: Kelly Danner, KOB Board President; Vonna Shults, Jon Hotubbee, and Tracy Horst, Director of Environmental Sustainability Going Green Team

PRESIDENT OBAMA IS NOT THE ONLY PRESIDENT TO USE HIS EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY TO PROTECT LANDS

The President issues his temporary withdrawal in 2010 using his authority under section 12 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which gives the president authority to withdraw offshore areas from potential oil and gas leasing. President Eisenhower was the first to exercise the authority in 1960, withdrawing an area now included in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Since then, presidents on both sides of the aisle have acted to withdraw areas of the Outer Continental Shelf from oil and gas leasing.

Photo: Courtesy Choctaw Nation

Left to right: Kelly Danner, KOB Board President; Vonna Shults, Jon Hotubbee, and Tracy Horst, Director of Environmental Sustainability Going Green Team