Named for the ore deposits found upstream, the 300-mile long Copper River flows from the Copper Glacier in the Wrangell Mountains in Central Alaska into the Gulf of Alaska and drains an area of more than 24,000 square miles. The river broadens at the base of the delta to nearly 50 miles wide and creates a regional river-end delta of approximately 1,094 square miles. The town of Cordova, home of Copper River Delta Sound Waterkeeper, is surrounded between the Copper River, the Copper River Delta. and Prince William Sound. The Copper River Delta flows into and receives water from Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska, and these bodies of water provide at sea pathways for all migrating forms of wildlife and sea-life, including salmon. The delta ecosystem of the Copper River is recognized as one of the largest, most intact, roadless, and pristine watersheds on the planet. Perennial returns of the wild Copper and Bering River salmon are considered some of the most prized and prolific wild salmon runs in the world. The Copper River Delta flows into and merges with the Prince William Sound and provides a sea pathway for all forms of wildlife. Although the overall human population is sparse, the economy vitally depends on the abundance of wild salmon and seafoods. Yet, rich resource diversity provides a multitude of development threats in boreal rainforests, minerals, and fossil fuels. The Eyak and other Native population and culture in Cordova today is evident and strong and represents about 17% of the population.
Dune Lankard is a Native Athabaskan Eyak of the Eagle Clan from the Copper River Delta of Alaska and from a Copper River-Prince William Sound fishing family. Dune was a commercial fisherman until March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez spilled more than 30 million gallons of oil into the Sound. On that day, he became a tribal leader, organizer and social change activist, dedicating his life to the protection of wild salmon habitat, Native and fishing culture, human rights, and the environment. His stances have shown vision and courage, and he has been recognized for his ability to link cultural and environmental preservation with a commitment to sustainable solutions. Dune is the founder and strategic and guiding force for the Eyak Preservation Council and founder of the Native Conservancy Land Trust. He has sat on numerous boards and advisory boards, including Bioneers, REDOIL (co-founder), and the SEVA Foundation, and has been recognized and received numerous awards, including an Ashoka Fellowship, was selected by Time magazine as one of its "Heroes of the Planet," a Prime Movers Award, Alaska Marketplace winner, and a SeaWeb Seafood Champion Award. He is most at peace on the water, fishing for his beloved wild salmon or rafting on the wild Copper River. This video titled ‘The Day the Water Died’ features Dune.
P.O. Box 460
Cordova, Alaska 99574