Protecting the environment near the B.C. and Alaska border

Last updated on October 17, 2023

B.C. and Alaska are working together to protect and enhance the environment we share. Senior officials meet formally twice a year to discuss key environmental topics and are supported by staff who meet monthly to make progress on joint actions.  

B.C. and Alaska working together

The bilateral working group was setup to build relationships and address key environmental topics related to our shared border and waterways. It includes senior officials from B.C. and Alaska:

  • Commissioner from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Commissioner from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • Commissioner from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources
  • Deputy minister from the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
  • Deputy minister from the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
  • Associate deputy minister from the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office

Read the formal agreement documents:

The bilateral working group meets at least twice each year to:

  • Share and discuss water quality data
  • Share data or reports about mine operations, discharges and closures
  • Provide updates on environmental assessments
  • Provide updates on mine and land development permits 

Read the meeting summaries

The bilateral working group provides direction for environmental protection activities

To date, the group has focused on water quality and mining activities near the international border.

Staff members from both governments meet monthly to work together to implement direction received from the bilateral working group.

Read updates about activities in the newsletter

Protecting watersheds along the B.C. and Alaska border

A map of the 4 major watersheds in northeastern B.C. that are shared with AlaskaBoth governments are committed to protecting 4 major watersheds in northwestern B.C.:

  • Alsek River
  • Taku River
  • Stikine River
  • Unuk River

A technical team completed a 2-year program to gather water quality data in these watersheds. They analyzed:

  • Water and sediment samples for general chemistry and metals
  • Tissue samples in fish and small aquatic organisms for metals

The program was developed collaboratively with provincial, state, Indigenous and Tribal organizations. Read the program description and two-year work plan (PDF).

Technical committees hosted workshops and meetings to discuss environmental protection issues and concerns. The workshops included government agencies, Indigenous communities, the scientific community, mine industry representatives, environmental organizations and the public. 

From the data collected, the technical team reported that, generally, water quality met Alaska's water quality standards. There were a few cases where water quality standards were not met:

  • These cases were caused by high levels of naturally occurring minerals in the surrounding area, and not by human activity
  • The measured levels were not a risk to local ecosystems

Read the reports:

Environmental protection and management practices in B.C.

Environmental assessments

Environmental assessments are completed for major natural resource and infrastructure projects.

The process includes engagement with B.C. First Nations, government experts from B.C. and Canada, local governments in the region, the public and nearby communities. Where projects have a potential for impacts that cross the border, B.C. also engages with Alaska Tribes, the State of Alaska and US federal government agencies.

Engagement and public participation are integral parts of the environmental assessment process. All comments received inform the environmental assessment decisions.

Environmental protection, mining permits and cleanup

The Province regulates discharges from mining (mine impacted water, air emissions and solid waste) that enter the environment.

All major mine applications go through a thorough environmental and technical review, consultation and engagement process. A major mine typically requires permits under:

A robust permitting process and reclamation requirements are in place to make sure that mining projects near the B.C. and Alaska border are planned, operated and closed safely.

The following is a list of mining projects that are regularly reported on to the working group. 


Red Mountain Underground Gold 

Search all major B.C. mining projects: British Columbia Mine Information

Contact us

If you have questions about environmental protection near the B.C.-Alaska border, email: