2019 BBNC Annual Report - Page 22

COMMITMENT TO HOME A STEWARD OF OUR LAND There is no place quite like Bristol Bay. Full of vast and rugged land, pristine waters filled with fish, it has sustained us, challenged us, and defined us from the very start. Our livelihoods, traditions, and cultural heritage will forever be connected to the region. These ties to, and deep reverence for, the lands and waters of Bristol Bay guide the work and policies of BBNC and its Land Department. Every decision to assess, develop, and protect resources is made through the lens of place and respect. It is a commitment that BBNC has held since its incorporation in 1972 as a result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), and continues to be prioritized to this day. Shareholder Russell Phelps lives this commitment as BBNC’s Natural Resources Manager. Based in his hometown of Naknek, he works with Bristol Bay village corporations as well as state and federal agencies to manage BBNC’s lands, negotiate gravel and rock sales and contracts, develop resource policies for BBNC, and pursue other in-region infrastructure and economic development opportunities. Key projects that Russell has led over the last several years include the redevelopment of the Snake Lake Rock Quarry outside of Dillingham and the construction of a boat haul-out and storage pad on the Bristol Alliance Fuels tank farm property in Dillingham. 20 BBNC FY2019 ANNUAL REPORT Russell travels regularly to other villages for his job, building relationships that create positive outcomes for BBNC, its shareholders and land management partners. Making and maintaining these in- region connections ensures that Russell has first-hand knowledge of the benefits and impacts to natural resource conservation and development. Although the natural resources manager position was originally Anchorage-based, BBNC gave Russell the option to stay in Naknek when he was hired in 2014. This has offered him a dual opportunity: to work for the region from the region, and to maintain his lifestyle as a commercial fisherman. “Fishing has been part of our culture and my family for generations,” he said. “Being able to fish during my free time has been important to me, and working in- region has allowed me to learn more about our communities and develop stronger business relationships.” “There is so much beauty and opportunity in Bristol Bay,” he continued. “I feel humbled to have a role that helps both preserve and develop the region for our business and future generations.”