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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Job Posting: NWB LCC Partnership Director

The Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative Steering Committee is seeking a Partnership Director.

LOCATION: Anchorage or Fairbanks, Alaska or Whitehorse, Yukon

APPOINTMENT: Minimum two years, full time

BACKGROUND: The Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NWB LCC) is a self-directed management-science partnership among over 25 agencies and organizations across Alaska and northwest Canada. The NWB LCC is dedicated to informing and promoting integrated science, sustainable natural and cultural resource management, and conservation to address impacts of climate change and other stressors within and across ecosystems. One of 22 LCCs in a national network, the NWB LCC was established in 2012 with the mission to enhance the ability of organizations and communities to understand, manage, and adapt to the changing boreal landscape. Over the past five years, the NWB LCC has matured into a highly collaborative body committed to maintaining a dynamic landscape that sustains functioning, resilient boreal ecosystems and associated communities and cultural resources.

The majority of funding to support the LCC network to date has been provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Although the U.S. President’s 2018 proposed budget does not include continued funding for the LCCs, the NWB LCC is committed to sustaining the partnership regardless of the final outcome of Congressional action on the federal budget. The NWB LCC Steering Committee has committed funding to the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) to hire a Partnership Director for a minimum term of two years’ full-time employment to support the ongoing efforts of the NWB LCC.

POSITION DESCRIPTION: The Partnership Director for the NWB LCC has principal responsibility for coordinating and communicating the work and activities of the NWB LCC partnership, building strong financial support for the organization, and managing operations and staff. The Partnership Director works collaboratively with a diverse, international network committed to landscape sustainability and plays a key role as a liaison among the partner organizations in collaboratively developing and achieving shared landscape conservation goals and objectives. The Partnership Director also provides liaison to the national LCC network.

This position requires a highly motivated, self-sufficient individual who can work independently across a vast landscape with a diverse network of partners and communities. Oversight and direction for this position will be provided by the NWB LCC Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from 25 U.S. and Canadian federal and state/provincial agencies, non-governmental organizations, Tribes and First Nations, and research institutions. Primary contact will be with the committee co-chairs who will provide input to WMI on the Partnership Director’s performance. The Partnership Director will also coordinate closely with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications in Alaska.

Major duties include, but are not limited to:

International coordination. Ensures NWB LCC activities and programs are coordinated across geographic areas and jurisdictional boundaries. Through well-developed interpersonal communication skills and expertise, provides leadership in creating, guiding, facilitating, and nurturing an interdependent network of partners. Collaborates and explores innovative means to leverage human and financial assets among agencies, organizations, and partnerships to implement the functional elements in pursuit of a sustainable landscape.

Large landscape conservation. Provides leadership, coordination, and facilitation of social and scientific expertise to develop and refine landscape-scale conservation strategies and plans across the NWB LCC region. This includes coordinating, facilitating, and conducting the science-based planning and assessments necessary to establish on-the-ground conservation outcomes and measurable objectives. Works collaboratively to support the integration of cooperative-based outputs into existing projects and programs among partner organizations. Facilitates development of new interdisciplinary projects and programs and seeks out and works with existing partners to formulate policies, programs, and budgets that take advantage of new opportunities to deliver conservation on the ground.

Broadening support for the NWB LCC. Works with NWB LCC partners to diversify funding and broaden support to establish a long-term sustainable partnership. Identifies opportunities to leverage or expand resources for the NWB LCC through interagency agreements, grants, or other mechanisms. Drafts agreements, grant proposals or other documents as needed to secure resources for personnel, projects and NWB LCC activities.

Program management and supervision.
Plans work and establishes schedules and priorities for the NWB LCC in consultation with the Steering Committee. Manages program operations, budget, and cooperative agreements or grants. May supervise one to two staff members.

LCC Network Coordination. Coordinates the work of the NWB LCCs with the national LCC network.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS:

• Advanced degree in a natural resources management or related field
• Five or more years’ experience related to the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the position
• U.S. or Canadian citizenship or documented authority to accept employment in the U.S. or Canada
• Valid driver’s license, passport and ability to travel between the U.S. and Canada

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES REQUIRED:

• Demonstrated ability to establish positive working relationships with individuals having widely varying perspectives and values. In depth knowledge of the art and science of communication with particular skills in presenting complex information to multiple audiences.
• Ability to clearly communicate thoughts and ideas verbally and in writing to technical, policy, and general audiences in both formal and extemporaneous settings.
• Demonstrated success in cultivating relationships with potential supporters of the NWB LCC.
• Skilled at writing successful grant proposals.
• Skilled at providing facilitation and leadership towards consensus building.
• Demonstrated ability to think strategically and develop a vision for a program or collaborative effort.
• Demonstrated ability to set priorities and implement action plans in a complex, issue-driven environment.
• Skilled at facilitation of meetings (both online and in person), workshop logistics and preparation.
• Knowledge and understanding of science.
• Demonstrated ability to work across disciplines.
• Knowledge and skill in applying supervisory/managerial principles and methods to organize work, to direct and motivate employees and achieve concrete results.

ADDITIONAL DESIRED QUALITIES:

• Passion for conservation and keen interest in the North
• Ability to inspire others
• Political savvy
• Experience working with communities, First Nations, or Tribes.
• Willingness and interest to keep people, including human dimensions and social science, as the heart of landscape conservation solutions.

WORKING CONDITIONS:

• The majority of the work is conducted in an office setting and conference/meeting facilities. Office space and limited administrative support will be provided by one of the partner agencies.
• Frequent travel by automobile and government or commercial aircraft, including small charter planes, is required.
• Occasional periods in the out-of-doors with exposure to climate, insects, or animals may be required.

COMPENSATION: Annual salary to be determined within the range of $90,000 – $100,000 USD, commensurate with experience and other qualifications.

BENEFITS: Health insurance stipend in lieu of health insurance; workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, and general liability insurance; enrollment in WMI’s 401(k) plan with an annual contribution of three to eight percent of salary from WMI.

HOW TO APPLY:Applicants should submit the following materials in electronic format (a single PDF preferred) to Chris Smith, WMI Western Field Representative, at csmithwmi@msn.com by August 25, 2017:
• A cover letter that addresses your interest in the position and explains how your background provides you with the knowledge, skills, abilities and experience necessary to be successful in this position.
• A resume with a minimum of three professional references
• Two samples of written communication related to natural resources or conservation

ANTICIPATED START DATE:
Negotiable; target date is prior to October 30, 2017.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NWB LCC:
• Visit the NWB LCC website at: http://nwblcc.org/

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS POSITION OR EMPLOYMENT WITH WMI:
• Contact Chris Smith at csmithwmi [at] msn.com (406-202-0003) or Scot Williamson at wmisw [at] together.net (802-563-2087).

Download position information

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Galena Biomass Project Presentation

The Galena biomass project utilizes infrastructure at the former Air Force base to heat a complex of buildings.

Tim Kalke from Sustainable Energy for Galena presented on July 25th on the innovative, community-driven project that utilizes biomass surrounding the Yukon River community.

You can view Kalke’s slides to learn about the project:

Contact Tim Kalke at Tim.kalke [at] sustainablegalena.org

Abstract Excerpt:

“Increased costs have prompted the village of Galena, Alaska, to explore viable alternatives for energy production. Continued dependency on petroleum products will cause the community’s economic driving force, the Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA), to face uncertain operability. A wood-fired boiler has been installed, replacing an antiquated diesel system. Collectively, several community entities formed a nonprofit organization, Sustainable Energy for Galena, Alaska, Inc. (SEGA), which is tasked to provide the required biomass material. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the unique socio-ecological conditions within the Galena Working Circle (GWC) and explore management strategies that strive to balance a wide range of local values… A well-organized fuel supply chain includes in-field drying, cost effective transportation and a chip processing, and a storage and handling scenario appropriate for extreme weather conditions. Compared to the status quo, use of the wood-boiler system will provide a cost savings of nearly 50% for the end consumer. Public involvement in the decision-making process is key to utilizing a local renewable fuel source and developing a plan that allows efficient delivery without compromising the quality of life present within a unique rural lifestyle.”

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Webinar Tuesday: LiDAR Elevation Data Collection on the YK Delta

LiDAR Elevation Data Collection on the YK Delta
Mike Meiser, Woolpert’s Government Solution Market

New elevation data for 1600 square miles of the Yukon-Kuskowkim Delta will be available soon. Using LiDAR—Light Detection and Ranging technology to create the high resolution data, Woolpert in collaboration with USGS’s 3DEP program developed datasets that government agencies, communities and others can use to support research, mitigation, and resilience activities to address issues such as coastal inundation.
Continue reading

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Upcoming Biomass Webinar: Life Cycle Assessment and Economics of Torrefied Biomass

Photo by Tom Waddell / Forest Business Network

An upcoming webinar hosted by Waste to Wisdom will explore new innovations in biomass.

Life Cycle Assessment and Economics of Torrefied Biomass

August 9, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. (AK)

“Torrefaction is a low temperature thermal treatment process that improves the fuel handling characteristics of biomass. Using data collected from a pilot plant built for the Waste to Wisdom project, this webinar presents an outlook on the future of smaller-scale near-woods torrefaction from an environmental and economic perspective. Specifically, we will discuss the implications from a life cycle assessment of torrefied biomass and then describe the economics and potential markets.”

Presenters

Mark Severy: Research Engineer, Schatz Energy Research Center, Humboldt State University
Sevda Alanya: ORISE Postdoctoral Fellow, USDA Forest Products Laboratory
Richard Bergman: Research Forest Products Technologist, USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory
Ted Bilek: Economist, USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory

More information here:

http://wastetowisdom.com/webinars/lifecycle-assessment-and-economics-of-torrefied-biomass/

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Community-Driven Sustainable Energy – Galena Biomass Project Webinar 7/25/17

Galena community members are working to develop a biomass solution to reduce reliance on diesel and provide for economic development. Image from Sustainable Energy for Galena (SEGA).

Tim Kalke from Sustainable Energy for Galena will present on the innovative, community-driven project that utilizes biomass surrounding the Yukon River community.

A webinar will take place on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.

Audio:
Teleconference: 1-866-755-3168
Passcode: 40211914#

WebEx:
Meeting Number: 449 875 146
Meeting Passcode: 40211914

1. Go to https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/
2. Type in the Meeting Number & Passcode
3. Choose “Conference” and click proceed
4. First time users, click on “New Users” to check your system and download the software. Then go back to Join Net Conference page.
5. Enter your name
6. Agree to the terms and conditions and click proceed

Abstract Excerpt:

“Increased costs have prompted the village of Galena, Alaska, to explore viable alternatives for energy production. Continued dependency on petroleum products will cause the community’s economic driving force, the Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA), to face uncertain operability. A wood-fired boiler has been installed, replacing an antiquated diesel system. Collectively, several community entities formed a nonprofit organization, Sustainable Energy for Galena, Alaska, Inc. (SEGA), which is tasked to provide the required biomass material. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the unique socio-ecological conditions within the Galena Working Circle (GWC) and explore management strategies that strive to balance a wide range of local values… A well-organized fuel supply chain includes in-field drying, cost effective transportation and a chip processing, and a storage and handling scenario appropriate for extreme weather conditions. Compared to the status quo, use of the wood-boiler system will provide a cost savings of nearly 50% for the end consumer. Public involvement in the decision-making process is key to utilizing a local renewable fuel source and developing a plan that allows efficient delivery without compromising the quality of life present within a unique rural lifestyle.”

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NWB LCC Steering Committee Member Honored

Gary Larsen gives a tour of the CRREL Permafrost Tunnel Research Facility near Fox, Alaska. Photo by Ben Matheson/NWB LCC.

NWB LCC Steering Committee member Gary Larsen from the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Fairbanks has been honored with the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service.

Read more at the Fairbanks Daily News Miner:

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High Altitude Balloon Captures the Boreal Forest from Near Space

A group of engineering students and recent graduates flew a balloon to the edge of space near Fairbanks earlier this year. The group associated with the company, Night Crew Labs, built a balloon that took cameras up to 90,000 feet, or nearly 20 miles above the surface.

According to a summary posted by the team, the engineers brought their custom equipment and eight tanks of helium to the launch site with the intent of filming several scenes, including the northern lights:

On the morning of our first launch, we drove about 10 miles west of Fairbanks, and stopped at a parking turn-out off the side of the mountain ridge highway. We filled the balloon and prepared the camera payload as the air temperature was well below freezing. After the launch, we immediately drove to the expected landing site, Chena Lakes Recreation area, about 40 miles away. Using our real-time radio link, we could track the payload throughout the mission. We finally lost track of it when it descended below 2000 ft, and the line-of-sight radio link was lost. As was the case for both day flights, all the equipment worked, and we recovered both flights with relative ease. Each flight landed within half a mile from a road, requiring us to trek in with snowshoes.

You can see images of the flight and video here, or read about it in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

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