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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Western Alaska - More Information

Background information on the Western Alaska/Aleutian - Bering Sea Islands region, a DU conservation priority area
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Goals

  • To complete wetland habitat mapping on at least 10,121,000 ha. Areas of importance include Selawik, Yukon Delta (over 7,692,000 ha), Togiak, Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak, and Izembek National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs); Bering and Aleutian Islands (especially St. Lawrence Island); Bering Land Bridge and Katmai National Park (NP).
  • To complete analyses of waterbird associations with landcover, especially in core areas such as Yukon Delta. To aid in risk assessment of potential oil damage in core lagoons.
  • To assist in research on coastal tundra ecology, sea duck, brant, and emperor goose ecology, and habitat use by northern pintail and scaup.
  • To aid resource managers, principally USFWS and First Nation, in positive management decisions.

Assumptions

  • Dramatic population declines for several species of sea ducks have been observed, but causes are unknown.
  • This vast region has specific core areas that are important for waterbirds, but many of the specific locations are poorly known or understood.
  • Changes in population structure may be due to conditions on wintering or migration areas.
  • Reduction in subsistence harvest (Hooper Bay agreement) has had a substantial influence on the recovery of several goose populations.

Strategies

  • Expand partnerships with developed image classification protocol and technology of waterbird habitat use and relationship to fire histories with USFWS, Alaska Science Center, Alaska Fire Service, and First Nations on the Yukon Delta and Alaska Peninsula regions.
  • Pursue research projects with Alaska Science Center and Universities on tundra ecology, northern pintail, greater scaup, sea duck, and emperor goose ecology, and the relationship that Bering Sea marine environments play to western Alaska waterbird habitats.
  • Focus on gaining critical resource information that can be used for risk assessment of potential degradation.
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