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YUKON FLATS: Village Shares Wildlife Monitoring
Alaska Region, August 3, 2007
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Logan Fields, a student at Tsuk Taih School in Chalkyitsik, Alaska, sweeps for bugs along the shores of Big Lake on the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo by Mark Bertram, USFWS, August 6, 2006
Logan Fields, a student at Tsuk Taih School in Chalkyitsik, Alaska, sweeps for bugs along the shores of Big Lake on the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Mark Bertram, USFWS, August 6, 2006 - Photo Credit: n/a

In August, 2007, students from the Tsuk Taih School in Chalkyitsik, Alaska worked with the Yukon Flats Refuge to continue a baseline study on Ohtig Lake south of their village.  Ohtig or “Big Lake” is a major staging area for migrating waterfowl in northern Alaska, a major subsistence resources to local residents.   

In the early 1960’s over 40,000 ducks were banded by the Service on Big Lake to supply data to assess the proposed Rampart Dam which would have flooded the entire 10,000 square miles that became the Yukon Flats Refuge.   Banding records show Big Lake waterfowl disperse to all North American migratory flyways and Canadian Provinces and at least 11 foreign countries, giving Big Lake international significance. But due to its remote location and complex land ownership,  Big Lake waterfowl have not been adequately monitored or habitats sufficiently described. 

For the past four years the Refuge partnered with the Chalkyitsik Tribal Council and  Tsuk Taih school to monitor waterfowl as part of an outreach-education effort.    Students measured water depths, took water quality measurements, collected invertebrates, and counted ducks.  In 2007 three students observed over 2,000 ducks daily including white-winged scoters, canvasback, common goldeneyes, and northern shovelers.  No fish were found but the waters teemed with invertebrates.   

This annual project is funded through a Challenge Cost Share Grant and enables the Refuge to monitor important resources on private lands within the Refuge by involving local village residents.


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



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