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Stay Out of the Water: Toxic Tailings Ponds and Threats to Wildlife

July 23, 2013

Wild Lands Advocate article, April/May 2013, by Carolyn Campbell. High profile tailings pond incidents continue to occur despite discussions to improve tailings pond practices by industry and government. More research is required to develop effective monitoring programs for potentially impacted wildlife as well as understand the long term environmental effects of tailings ponds.

“Despite concerns of growing risks to wildlife and downstream communities from ponds leaking into ground and surface waters and the risks to wildlife from the expanding open water areas, government regulators did not insist that these toxic water sites should be promptly phased out; instead, more mining operations with their associated tailings ponds were approved.”

If I were asked to illustrate a scene of utter serenity and peace, I would choose a picture of a mother grizzly wandering across flower-covered slopes with two small cubs gamboling at her heels. This is truly a part of the deep tranquility that is the wilderness hallmark.
- Andy Russell, 1975
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