Webinar Recording: ShoreZone 101: How to Use the ShoreZone Coastal Imagery and Mapping Dataset

ShoreZone is a coastal imaging and habitat mapping system that has been applied to most of Alaska’s coast as well as those of British Columbia, Washington State and Oregon. This dataset is publicly available. Learn how the imagery and mapping is completed, see a live demonstration of how to access the data online and view examples of numerous and varied ways the data has been utilized. Uses include: oil spill planning and response, risk management, species and habitat modelling, marine debris mapping, cultural features mapping, research study design and outreach and education. ShoreZone imagery is also being used create digital elevation models and change detection using Structure from Motion technology.

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New Research Tracks Snowy Owls Across Canada and Alaska

Frank Doyle releases a Snowy Owl. Photo by Alistair Blachford.

A new study describes the movements of breeding snowy owls across Northwest Canada and Alaska over the course of their seasonal movements.

From authors Frank Doyle, Jean-François Therrien, Donald Reid, Gilles Gauthier and Charles Krebs:

“The authors were intrigued to discover that these owls spent winter in the north, not on the tundra, but in the mountainous regions of the boreal forest zone of Alaska and northern Yukon. This is the first telemetry study of Snowy Owls showing that they can winter in boreal forest latitudes. They chose particularly open, unforested habitats, such as subalpine taiga shrub lands and extensive wetlands, with lots of openings. Over most of the boreal forest biome these relatively open habitats are uncommon, so the mountains themselves are probably key to this result.

In winter, relatively few people live in these mountainous boreal regions, which included Denali National Park and the Yukon River Flats. Although the authors were not able to visit the wintering areas when the birds were there, they did get information from biologists and other people working in these regions, and suspect that these Snowy Owls were moving in search of high abundance of snowshoe hares and ptarmigan. There is still much to be learned about how the Owls get through this season.”

The research, “Seasonal Movements of Female Snowy Owls Breeding in the Western North American Arctic,” is published this month in the Journal of Raptor Research.

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2018 Western Division American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting Planned for Anchorage, AK.

The Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society will host the 2018 Western Division AFS annual meeting, 21-25 May 2018, at the Egan Center in Anchorage, AK. The theme of this year’s meeting is Change, Challenge, and Opportunity in Fisheries: Fishing for Solutions.

The meeting planning committee is in the process of putting together a vibrant program to highlight topics in fisheries conservation and management across Western North America! For more information or to volunteer to help with the meeting please visit the official meeting website (below).

Consider being part of this unique experience by submitting an abstract for a symposium, workshop, contributed paper, or poster.

Important dates:
Symposia and workshop proposals are due January 5, 2018. Contributed paper and poster submission will open January 21, 2018 and abstracts are due by March 5, 2018.. Meeting registration will be live February 21, 2018

All meeting information, including lodging, registration, and instructions for symposia, workshops, poster, and contributed paper abstracts can be found at: http://wdmtg.fisheries.org/

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Webinar Recording: U.S. Forest Service Interior Alaska Forest Inventory and Analysis Program

With the official launch of the Interior Alaska FIA in 2016, the Anchorage Forestry Sciences lab in cooperation with the State of Alaska Division of Forestry have taken on the largest (110 million acres) and most remote forest inventory in the country.

Webinar: U.S. Forest Service Interior Alaska Forest Inventory and Analysis Program

The Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program acts as the Nation’s forest census by inventorying all potentially forested lands in all 50 states and the Pacific Islands. Until 2014, the 15% of the nation’s forests in Interior Alaska were uninventoried. With the official launch of the Interior Alaska FIA in 2016, the Anchorage Forestry Sciences lab in cooperation with the State of Alaska Division of Forestry have taken on the largest (110 million acres) and most remote forest inventory in the country. FIA collects data on forest composition and condition, tree size and age, insects and diseases, vegetation structure and composition, invasives, down woody materials and has added specific protocols for lichens/mosses and soils to better represent Interior boreal forest components. This dataset will be essential to assessing Interior Alaska forest change over time and answering critical scientific and management questions.


Presenter:
Kate Legner, Supervisory Biological Scientist, Interior Alaska Unit – Forest Service – Forest Inventory & Analysis

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Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recruitment Alaska Division of Forestry Invites Applications for Four Seats on Citizens’ Advisory Committee

Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recruitment Alaska Division of Forestry Invites Applications for Four Seats on Citizens’ Advisory Committee

The Alaska Division of Forestry is seeking applications for four seats on the Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens’ Advisory Committee. The terms for four members will expire on December 31, 2017. Reappointments will be reconsidered for members with expiring terms who express an interest in serving another term on the committee.

This 12-person committee advises the Division on plans and proposals for managing the 1.8 million acre Tanana Valley State Forest and other forested lands managed by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in the Tanana Valley. The committee is also a forum for gathering public opinion on management of state forests and helps build a regional consensus about forestry. These are unpaid, volunteer positions. Meetings are held about four times each year. More information about the committee may be found at http://www.forestry.alaska.gov/tvsf_committee.htm.

Descriptions of the four seats are provided below.

Forest Industry. This seat represents businesses involved in harvesting or processing timber resources. Environmental Interests. Represents environmental organizations and individuals
with environmental interests.
Native Community. Represents both individual Alaska Natives and Native organizations in the Tanana Basin who use the forest or will be directly impacted by
forest management actions.
Fish & Wildlife Interests. Represents the full range of interests in fish and wildlife, including sport, and commercial users.
If you are interested in one of these positions mail a letter explaining your interests and your qualifications to: Jim Schwarber, Alaska Division of Forestry, 3700 Airport Way, Fairbanks,
AK 99709-4699; fax it to (907) 451-2690; or e-mail to james.schwarber@alaska.gov, so that it
is received no later than 5:00 P.M., Friday, January 5, 2018.

For more information, call the Division of Forestry Office at Fairbanks: (907) 451-2704 or Tok: (907) 883-5134.

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Provide Input for Beacons Training Opportunities in 2018

The BEACONs project is designing future outreach and training opportunities – please share your feedback! If you are interested in learning more about BEACONs, please complete a very short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FRJWZKK

Learn more about the Beacons project here:

http://www.beaconsproject.ca/

The Beacons analysis has several benchmark networks that can be ranked by a variety of criteria.


Project Summary:

The Northwest Boreal LCC (NWB LCC) envisions a dynamic landscape that maintains functioning, resilient boreal ecosystems and associated cultural resources. To support this vision, the NWB LCC partnered with the BEACONs Project to implement a new approach to conservation planning, including the identification of ecological benchmarks to support implementation of active adaptive management. Within an adaptive management framework, benchmarks serve as reference areas for detecting and understanding the influence of human activity on ecological systems. They support the identification of management practices that sustain the wide range of environmental, cultural, and economic values of the northwest boreal. The NWB LCC region has high potential for the establishment of a comprehensive benchmark network, with contributions from existing protected areas. Join us for an overview of the concepts behind this work and the new products available to support pro-active conservation planning.

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Alaska DNR Seeks Natural Resource Technicians

The State of Alaska Division of Forestry anticipates selecting multiple long term nonpermanent Natural Resource Technician II (crew member) and III (crew leader) positions, to support the U.S. Forest Service Interior Alaska Forest Inventory and Analysis program.

All positions will be located within the State of Alaska Natural Resources Department Division of Forestry in Fairbanks, Alaska. *Note: This position is open to Alaska Residents only.

How to Apply:

Visit Workplace Alaska at to apply online prior to the closing date 1/31/18 at 5:00pm.

NRT II: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/alaska/jobs/1917971/natural-resource-technician-ii-10-dnr-51?keywords=10-dnr-51&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs

NRT III: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/alaska/jobs/1917147/natural-resource-technician-iii-10-dnr-50?keywords=10-dnr-51&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs

For additional information on these positions, please contact Matt Stevens at matthew.stevens@alaska.gov or 907-451-2606

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New Research Explores the Changing Role of Thunderstorms and Lightning in Boreal Wildfires

NASA Earth Observatory maps and charts by Jesse Allen, using data provided by Sander Veraverbeke (Vrije Universiteit).

New research examines the changing role of thunderstorms and lightning strikes on the boreal forest wildfire regime. A team supported by NASA and led by Sander Veraverbeke (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and University of California, Irvine) analyzed satellite data and other lightning data sources to try to understand the 2014 and 2015 wildfire seasons.

The team found that the majority of fires in their study areas in 2014 and 2015 were ignited by lightning storms, as opposed to human activity. That is natural, given the remoteness of the region, but it also points to more frequent lightning strikes in an area not known for as many thunderstorms as the tropics or temperate regions. Looking at longer trends, the researchers found that lightning-ignited fires in the region have been increasing by 2 to 5 percent per year since 1975, a trend that is consistent with climate change. The study was published in July 2017 in the journal Nature Climate Change.
“We found that it is not just a matter of more burning with higher temperatures. The reality is more complex,” Veraverbeke said. “Higher temperatures also spur more thunderstorms. Lightning from these thunderstorms is what has been igniting many more fires in these recent extreme events.”

Read more at NASA’s website: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=91343&src=eoa-iotd

The full paper was published in Nature:

https://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v7/n7/full/nclimate3329.html

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Webinar: Assessing vulnerability of Interior Alaskan Subsistence Users to Impacts of Environmental Change on Travel and Access

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy Webinar: Assessing vulnerability of Interior Alaskan Subsistence Users to Impacts of Environmental Change on Travel and Access

Date:
Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM AKST
Presenter:
Helen Cold, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Register here:

https://accap.uaf.edu/subsistance_access

Summary:

Changes in climate are disproportionately affecting northern latitudes, and this is altering relationships between human societies and their environments. Rural communities in boreal Alaska rely heavily on natural resources for provisional and cultural purposes, and have reported challenges caused by contemporary environmental changes. Environmental disturbances associated with climate change, such as shifts in fire regime, hydrologic changes affecting waterways, thawing of permafrost, extreme weather events, and unstable snow and ice conditions, have been qualitatively associated with altered accessibility of subsistence resources.

Our research objective was to quantify the impact of disturbances driven by climate change on access to ecosystem services in Interior Alaska. In collaboration with nine rural boreal Alaska communities, we documented changes observed by subsistence users. Geotagged photos of disturbances that community members encountered while engaged in resource gathering activities were coupled with their interpretation of the impact of the disturbance on their travel, as well as traditional ecological knowledge gathered through comprehensive interviews on the history of environmental disturbances in their subsistence harvest areas.

We identified eight general categories of climatic change influencing access to resources by rural residents: ice conditions, snow conditions, water levels, erosion, sedimentation, vegetative community composition, windy days, and undetermined. We then used frequency and intensity information for the disturbances reported to conduct a vulnerability assessment to identify which disturbances were having the greatest impact on travel. Preliminary analyses indicate that water levels, erosion, snow conditions and ice conditions are the most detrimental to rural residents’ abilities to travel and access subsistence resources across the Interior.

Through combining traditional ecological knowledge and scientific analysis, we characterized the impact of climate change on travel networks used for subsistence resource harvest across the study region and provide information that collaborating communities can use to optimize community resilience and self-reliance. These data can be used by agencies and local communities to foster adaptation to a rapidly changing climate.

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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) RFP Announced

The NFWF 2017 request for proposals covers three main geographies across Alaska.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is requesting proposals to further conservation of species and habitats in Alaska. The conservation strategy for Alaska follows NFWF’s institutional outcome focused approach to species conservation, and includes three primary focal geographies: The Yukon-Kuskokwim Region, Cook Inlet/Matanuska-Susitna watershed, and Alaska North Slope. Projects outside of these geographies that support fishery conservation may also be considered on a case by case basis, particularly those projects targeting Pacific salmon protection, enhancement and restoration initiatives through the Alaska Fish Habitat Partnerships.

Learn more here.

In the Cook Inlet/Matanuska-Susitna watershed area, NFWF seeks to support a comprehensive watershed management approach to conserving fish and wildlife in the Cook Inlet geography. Focal species for this geography include Chinook, Sockeye and Coho salmon and migratory shorebirds.

Program funds will be allocated to projects that:

Achieve or substantially lead to measurable on-the-ground conservation outcomes;
Fill key information gaps through assessments and strategic monitoring that result in or
substantially lead to measureable management actions.

Support for this program is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Land
Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), and various other federal sources. Grants may be awarded using one or
more of these sources of funding.

View the RFP here.

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