Webinar – Understanding Environmental Change in the Yukon River Basin through the Indigenous Observation Network and Citizen Science

Ryan Toohey, USGS Alaska Climate Science Center

Tuesday, September 19; 12 -1 PM Alaska Time

The Yukon River Basin (YRB), underlain by discontinuous permafrost, has experienced a warming climate over the last century that has altered air temperature, precipitation, and permafrost. A collaborative effort between the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Indigenous Observation Network (ION) has developed two projects that focus on water quality and permafrost research. More than 300 community environmental technicians have been trained to participate in ION by effectively monitoring and investigating their local environments with global implications. These local observations, obtained over the past decade, have contributed to the global understanding of climate change and ultimately its impacts on Alaska Native Villages. Combined with historical data from the USGS, the ION database now covers over 30 years of historical water quality data in key locations. Trend analysis of this database suggests increased active layer expansion, weathering and sulfide oxidation due to permafrost degradation throughout the YRB. Changing geochemistry of the YRB may have important implications for the carbon cycle, aquatic ecosystems, and contaminant transport. With predicted environmental changes, the efforts of ION and the integration of Indigenous knowledge will become critical to assess, mitigate and adapt to changing local environments.

Join us

In Anchorage:
US Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office
1011 E Tudor Rd., Anchorage Alaska
Office of Science Applications Confence Rm

In Fairbanks:
US Fish and Wildlife Service Field Office
101 12th Ave.
Fairbanks Alaska
Refuges Conference Room

Remote connection:
Call-in number: 1-866-755-3168
Access code: 402 119 14

Click here to access webinar 
Meeting number: 745 762 485
Meeting password: ZypXQz4@

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Yukon North Slope Traditional Knowledge Report Available

Areas used by caribou for calving, as identified by mulitple Inuvialuit land-users during TK interviews. Source: “Traditional Knowledge of Wildlife Habitats on the Yukon North Slope.”

A new report, Inuvialuit Traditional Knowledge of Wildlife Habitat on the Yukon North Slope, detailing traditional knowledge of important species along the Yukon North Slope has been released.

Inuvialuit Traditional Knowledge of Wildlife Habitat on the Yukon North Slope

Prepared for:
Wildlife Management Advisory Council (North Slope)

Prepared by:
William Tyson and Kimberly Heinemeyer
Round River Conservation Studies

Background information:

The Inuvialuit of the Yukon North Slope have formed a Wildlife Advisory Council, a co-management body, comprised of federal, territorial, and Inuvialuit representatives, and they are working closely with researchers from the Round River Organization to develop a management plan that reflects how the Inuvialuit use Arctic resources and their understanding of seasonal habitat use by fish and wildlife. This process for integrating Traditional and Western science in the Inuvialuit Settlement Area will provide an important example for how other scientists and managers can work with native communities to fulfill the need for wildlife and management plans in other places.

Researchers reviewed existing local knowledge publications and recorded information from local workshops and interviews to develop detailed maps and descriptions habitat for caribou, moose, grizzly and polar bears, Dolly Varden Char, Broad Whitefish, geese, muskox and Dall’s sheep. Changes in distribution patterns and impacts from climate change have also been observed, especially for caribou. These changes include different migration routes and timing of migration. A report describing the knowledge gathered was submitted to the communities for review and use in the next phase of developing the management plan. The Inuvialuit Traditional Knowledge of Wildlife Habitat on the Yukon North Slope final report can be viewed here:

http://arcticlcc.org/assets/products/ALCC2016-01/reports/Inuvialuit_Wildlife_Habitat_TK_Final_Report_20170712.pdf
Documenting local knowledge of wildlife habitat and distribution promises to be useful and effective in managing wildlife by local users. This baseline wildlife assessment will inform multiple products including habitat models and connectivity mapping based on traditional knowledge and Western science data.

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Aleutian Vessel Drift Modeling Webinar Recording

The analysis explores when and where disabled ships are likely to go ashore in a modeled environment.

A webinar discussing an ongoing analysis of simulated disabled ship drift dynamics was held on Tuesday, August 22. Ben Matheson presened work supported by the Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands LCC, as well as Wildlife Conservation Society and Genwest.
Understanding the risks of potential vessel groundings along four major traffic lanes through the Aleutian Islands on the Great Circle Route.

The recording is available here: https://youtu.be/S4P7pWA9MZw

In recent years emerging routes through the Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea have drawn significant international attention because of expected new traffic resulting from decreased seasonal sea ice. However, the vast majority of international vessel traffic in Alaska actually transits through the southern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands via the Great Circle Route. Within this high use route (9-12 vessels per day), there is a potential risk of vessel incidents that might result in oil spills and subsequent impacts.

These spills have the potential to harm key regional subsistence species like marine mammals, birds and fish/shellfish. They also pose grave potential risk to commercial fisheries both in terms of direct impacts and also potential harm to market dynamics based on perceived contamination of commercial species of fish and shellfish. Using information on predominant local winds, surface currents, and the shape and buoyancy of a simulated tanker vessel we were able to run thousands of simulated vessel drift events using the General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment (GNOME) model. We will share results of this drift modeling effort relative to risks posed to Steller Sea Lions and seabird colonies in the Aleutian Islands. This work is a preliminary modelling effort that can be expanded in the future.

Partners include Wildlife Conservation Society and Genwest.

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Webinar September 5th: Supporting the Earth Science Community through Holistic Data Management Approaches

Data from the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission’s Bering Arctic Subarctic Integrated Survey is visible in the portal Axiom Data Science built for the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON). Photo from Axiom Data Science.

A webinar will be held on September 5th at 12:00 p.m.(AK):

“Supporting the Earth Science Community through Holistic Data Management Approaches”

Presenter: Rob Bochenek, Axiom Data Science

This talk will describe the end-to-end cyber infrastructure developed to support stakeholders in the earth science community throughout the data lifecycle: from immediately after data collection, through numerical analysis and synthesis, visualization, and decision making, to data publication and reuse.

Over the last decade, Axiom Data Science has worked with state, federal, NGO, univeristy and private partners to develop the technologies and capabilities necessary to address many of the common challenges to data management, reuse, and visualization, including securely storing and sharing data within research teams and larger research campaigns; providing tools for scientists to perform reproducible analytical workflows; publishing data with standards-compliant metadata; assimilating and visualizing data in ways that allow data of heterogeneous types and spatiotemporal granularities to be be integrated, explored, and understood together; and efficiently accessing and analyzing high-volume data products including model results and satellite imagery. By integrating these capabilities, we have created an end-to-end data ecosystem that provides scientists with tools for meeting their data management obligations and performing collaborative analyses using reproducible workflows. The resulting system augments the impact, reuse, and accessibility of science research products by making them available to decision makers and other interested stakeholders alongside other observational, in situ, remote, and real time data products from other research and monitoring efforts.

Webinar Access:
https://mmancusa.webex.com/mmancusa/j.php?MTID=mb6721c959279dc4dbe5d0f1fa5a80f30
Meeting number: 743 339 292
Meeting password: FdWKpa9*

Join by phone
Call-in toll-free number : 1-866-755-3168 (US)
Attendee access code: 402 119 14#

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Alaska Aspen Workshop Registration Open

The Alaska Aspen Workshop registration is now open and posted at http://www.alaska.forestry.org/alaska.

A 3-day workshop will take place beginning in Fairbanks on September 12, 2017 to discuss the ecology and management of aspen in Alaska’s Interior. The rest of the workshop will take place in the field between Fairbanks and Tok. Please see the program information on the registration form for details. A formal agenda will be published on the SAF website in the coming weeks.

Registration forms and payment due August 25th: $75 to cover transportation and one meal. (If you can only attend the Fairbanks portion, we ask for a $20 registration to cover transportation to the field.)

Details:

Alaska Aspen Workshop
September 12-14, 2017
Fairbanks – Delta – Tok
Hosted by the Western Aspen Alliance, Cook Inlet SAF, and the BLM

Explore the Western Aspen Alliance website https://western-aspen-alliance.org/ and receive the Tremblings newsletter.

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Alaskan U.S. National Vegetation Classification Workshop Announced

The workshop will be held on November 7th-9th.

A workshop to bring the new U.S National Vegetation Classification forward in Alaska and develop plans for new Landfire work will take place in November.

U.S National Vegetation Classification Workshop: Meeting Landfire Needs and Beyond

Date: Nov 7-9, 2017
Location: Anchorage Alaska
US Forest Service
161 E 1st Avenue, Door 8
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Confirm attendance by email:
don_faber-langendoen@natureserve.org

More Information:
Workshop Details
U.S. National Vegetation Classification Introduction

Background Information:

The U.S. National Vegetation Classification (USNVC) is currently the least complete in Alaska. An Alaska workshop, held in January 2011, initiated drafts of mid-level USNVC types (the division, macrogroup and group), with subsequent revisions by Alaskan ecologists in 2015 2016. But there has been no systematic development of alliances and associations in boreal and arctic Alaska, despite a wide range of published materials on fine-scale plant community types (e.g., Viereck and company, Alaska Natural Heritage Program/Alaska Center for Conservation Science, pers. comm. 2012). Pacific coastal types are better developed, and have been completed in consultation with Alaska, British Columbia, and lower 48 ecologists.

What is now needed is to invite a rigorous peer review of the existing macrogroups and groups, and to establish a peer-review based process for developing alliances and associations, in collaboration with the Ecological Society of America’s NVC Review Board (which is authorized to conduct the review on behalf of the Federal Geographic Data Committee, Vegetation Subcommittee). We have now formally established the NVC Review Board, and would like to engage Alaskan ecologists in improving the USNVC for Alaska. Our workshop will also guide the development of LANDFIRE products. LANDFIRE is preparing to conduct a second round of national mapping, beginning in 2018, using both USNVC Groups and NatureServe Ecological Systems. LANDFIRE will use these classification revisions to improve the Map Legend concepts.

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Forest Service Seeks Students for Research Assistantship Program

The U.S. Forest Service and The Wildlife Society are accepting applications for a research assistantship program for Alaska Native, First Nations, and Native American students. The program facilitates mentoring opportunities for scientists with the students and promotes student advancement and training for careers in natural resource and conservation-related fields.

Short-term assistantships are available for Native American students interested in wildlife and forest resources and excited to learn and work with an interdisciplinary team of researchers. Applicants must be a member of an American Indian or Alaska Native tribe, First Nations, or a Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or have some other indigenous identification, and be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program from an accredited academic institution. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in wildlife biology, ecology, forestry or other closely related natural resource discipline is preferred. Students with Associates degrees from TCUs or other community colleges will be considered.

All application materials are due October 18, 2017. The application is available here.

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New study explores conservation scenarios in the Yukon Boreal Mountains

The Yukon Boreal Moun tainsare home to rugged mountains, high intermontane plateaus
and broad forested valley bottoms.

A recent study explores several multiple scenarios for networks of landscape-scale conservation areas across the boreal mountains of of the Yukon Territory.

In ‘Securing a Wild Future: Planning for landscape-scale conservation of Yukon’s Boreal Mountains,’ Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada’s Dr. Hilary Cooke utilizes new spatial analyses to

“…the study examines gaps, opportunities, and priorities for conservation across a region covering the southern 60% of the Yukon. Using an approach and tools developed by the BEACONs research group (www.beaconsproject.ca), she examined thousands of scenarios for networks of landscape-scale conservation areas covering from 15% to 50% of the region to determine the best options for conserving the full range of natural ecological variability of the region, while also accommodating the scale of fire.”

The full report is available here:

https://www.wcscanada.org/Portals/96/Documents/news_release/WCS_Canada_Yukon_report.pdf?ver=2017-06-05-123617-787

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Webinar Tuesday: Disabled Ship Drift Modeling in the Bering Sea

The analysis explores when and where disabled ships are likely to go ashore in a modeled environment.

A webinar discussing an ongoing analysis of simulated disabled ship drift dynamics will be held on Tuesday, August 22. Ben Matheson will present work supported by the Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands LCC, as well as Wildlife Conservation Society and Genwest.

Understanding the risks of potential vessel groundings along four major traffic lanes through the Aleutian Islands on the Great Circle Route:

In recent years emerging routes through the Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea have drawn significant international attention because of expected new traffic resulting from decreased seasonal sea ice. However, the vast majority of international vessel traffic in Alaska actually transits through the southern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands via the Great Circle Route. Within this high use route (9-12 vessels per day), there is a potential risk of vessel incidents that might result in oil spills and subsequent impacts.

These spills have the potential to harm key regional subsistence species like marine mammals, birds and fish/shellfish. They also pose grave potential risk to commercial fisheries both in terms of direct impacts and also potential harm to market dynamics based on perceived contamination of commercial species of fish and shellfish. Using information on predominant local winds, surface currents, and the shape and buoyancy of a simulated tanker vessel we were able to run thousands of simulated vessel drift events using the General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment (GNOME) model. We will share results of this drift modeling effort relative to risks posed to Steller Sea Lions and seabird colonies in the Aleutian Islands. This work is a preliminary modelling effort that can be expanded in the future.

Partners include Wildlife Conservation Society and Genwest.

Webinar Information:

Disabled Vessel Drift in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

11:30 am | Alaska Daylight Time (Anchorage, GMT-08:00) | 1 hr
Meeting number: 746 072 916
Meeting password: cYYmJ2j?

Audio
Call-in number: 1-866-755-3168
Access code: 402 119 14#

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An inventory of resource management plans across the Northwest Boreal region

The management plan analysis categorizes and analyzes goals from 120 plans across Alaska and Canada. Graphic by Nicole Gustine, FWS.

Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NWB LCC) partners are working to collectively design a sustainable future for the people, cultures, and ecosystems in the region. To begin this difficult task, the partners asked for a review and synthesis of existing natural resource management plans, covering both countries and all four states, provinces and territories. The NWB LCC Steering Committee believes that it is important to both be in alignment with current goals and objectives for land and resources, and to build on the work already completed by agencies, organizations and research institutions.

The review summarized and synthesized 120 management plan goals within the NWB LCC geography. Goals and objectives from each plan were categorized to enable comparisons across plans. These top-level categories were cultural, economic, environmental, and social. This review of regional management plans can be a useful resource for anyone interested in the region and how the goals of different land managers both overlap and diverge across the northwest boreal region.

A summary of the results and a full list of all of the management plans and their goals are available here:

Summary document

Full report and goal explanation

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