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IZEMBEK: Researchers gather to assess Izembek's biological importance
Alaska Region, July 27, 2004
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A biological program review of Izembek Refuge was held July 23-27, 2004, in Cold Bay, Alaska by 16 researchers and managers from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center, University of Alaska's Institute of Marine Science and Institute of Arctic Biology, Agdaagux Tribe and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Panelists evaluated ongoing fish, wildlife and plant inventories, monitoring surveys, and research studies of Izembek Refuge. The scientists affirmed the international importance of Izembek's lagoon system (including the largest eelgrass bed in the northern hemisphere), freshwater wetlands and streams, and upland brown bear habitats. These lands protected by Izembek NWR and the adjacent Izembek State Game Refuge provide staging habitats for the entire Pacific Flyway population of brant; critical habitat for up to 50,000 Steller's eiders, including the threatened Alaska-breeding population; staging areas for 40,000 Canada geese and 70,000 emperor geese; foraging habitat for the threatened Steller's sea lion and the proposed threatened Southwestern Alaska sea otter; and the most productive coastal brown bear habitat on the Alaska Peninsula.

Panelists toured Izembek lagoon and barrier islands along the Bering Sea; visited a video-sonar weir monitoring spawning sockeye salmon; and observed brown bears, songbird and shorebird nesting habitats. The panel is reviewing current and proposed studies to recommend priorities to the Refuge. In addition to the written Biological Program Review, results will be included in the Refuge Inventory and Monitoring Plan and revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov



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